Mark Chupp, Assistant Professor and Network Director of the Community Innovation Network, and the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case-Western Reserve University sent us his last two newsletters that include some of his thoughts about our response to COVID 19. The first essay, published on March 30,2020 is entitled "Fear, Denial, and Connectedness." In this he wonders "What can we learn about community from this vexing physical distancing? How can we embrace the new opportunities that are emerging as we work to increase our connectedness while being physically isolated?" He acknowledges the fear that we all are feeling, but notes that it can be a resource to keep us safe. But it also can immobilize us and hurt our mental health.
"Ultimately," he says, "we need each other to face our fear and uncertainty and navigate through an ever-changing reality. As we build new pathways to connect with others through social media, old-fashioned mailed cards and phone calls, we discover a deeper level of community that was missing from our frenetic lifestyles. ...
Facing reality-based fear and finding safe ways to strengthen our connectedness promises to bring healing to us and our fractured world."
In the second essay, entitled An Exponential Rise in Goodness and Trust, published on April 13, 2020, Mark argues that acts of goodness and trust are growing and have the potential to grow exponentially to counter the exponential growth of the virus itself.
|Most people are doing things that demonstrate a level of trust and faith in others.|
Beyond sheltering in place and handwashing, most people are doing things that demonstrate a level of trust and faith in others. Going to the grocery store requires trust that others will not go out in public if they have symptoms. Crime is down and sharing is up. Coworkers send dinners to one another to show their support. Patrons leave $100 tips for take-out in a show of solidarity for a favorite local restaurant.
Let’s imagine the exponential impact of a new-found awareness and respect of others. Let’s spike the curve of goodness.
In addition, people are performing acts of kindness to complete strangers, not expecting anything in return. Volunteers work long hours to provide meals to school children and families in need. There are creative efforts to show support for healthcare workers making great sacrifices for those who are sick with the virus. Hundreds of Case Western Reserve University employees have turned over their monthly parking rebates, leading to an emergency fund with tens of thousands of dollars for students in financial need.
"Trusting behavior and acting on behalf of the greater good", Mark argues, "are also contagious." The rate of contaigon might not be as high as COVID 19's, but we can make it higher.
Let’s imagine the exponential impact of a new-found awareness and respect of others. Let’s spike the curve of goodness. If you catch someone doing something good, call it out by sharing the good news, copying or adapting it in your own life. Let’s create a set of new rituals and peaceful practices that will be the lasting legacy of the coronavirus.