‘Tis the Season for Hope

There’s a certain peacefulness to the holiday season. I love this time of year.

For me, it’s one where I slow my pulse rate enough so I can see and hear the beauty that surrounds us — the twinkling lights that adorn our homes and offices, the peaceful music that fills our main streets, and perhaps even a gentle snowfall that blankets our landscape creating a certain stillness.

I have fond memories of all of these things from my childhood to the present. The holiday season rejuvenates me.

But, this year feels different. Very different.

The sense in our community is one of angst — of heightened anxiety instead of peacefulness. COVID-19 has a way of doing that. It certainly makes sense. We are living in an unpredictable world. Despite all of the prognostications and charts, tomorrow is uncertain and brings a sense of apprehension.

And yet, I continue to believe in our future. I believe in the power of HOPE — the importance of looking towards a brighter tomorrow. Our collective future is built on hope.

It’s what drives us in education — the belief that our efforts will result in a better tomorrow — where our students are taught to be solution finders, creators and innovators. Every meeting we have, every decision we make is focused on building capacity and resilience in our students. What we’re really instilling in them is HOPE. Hope builds belief in oneself and others. It builds character, self-worth and inspiration.

Hope is critical. Hope is essential.

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We’re Going to be OK

I have never experienced anything remotely similar to this pandemic in my lifetime. When I look back in time I can find The Spanish Flu epidemic from 1918-1920. It was devasting in Canada and around the world. In our country an estimated 55,000 people died — most of them between the ages of 20-40. Interestingly, coming out of WW1 Canada lost a little more than 60,000 soldiers (1914-1918).

But, there isn’t anything more recent that resembles the world-wide pandemic we are currently living within.

Military hospital at Naden (Esquimalt, BC), c. 1919. Courtesy City of Victoria Archives

Why was the Spanish Flu so devastating? Several reasons have been mentioned (such as a lack of suitable drugs and communication), but the most significant cause was a lack of adequate quarantine measures. We also didn’t have very good coordination between the various health authorities across the country.