This first appeared in The Havok Journal on April 4, 2020. It’s been a year, how did Covid impact your life?
You worked 12-plus hours a day inside a typical office setting. Or, maybe you worked three different jobs equating to twelve hours a day doing different odds and ends. You worked and worked and worked all because you were socially conditioned to believe it was the “right thing to do.”
The social conditioning phenomenon groomed you to believe it was more important to be with, or alongside, anyone other than those whom you should spend the most time with. In truth, as Americans, our working-class spends the vast majority of their “awake time” with everyone and anyone who is not actual family.
We need the biggest homes. We need the fastest cars. We need those televisions in every room in the house. We need to spend money on personal trainers for our kids to one day become rising stars in whatever sport YOU push on them.
All of these “needs” are nothing more than materialistic “wants.”
To date, single-family homes outweigh “traditional” households. Divorce rates are at some of the highest levels in history. And, our children are often being raised by complete strangers even though we, as their parents, claim we “know” these “trusted” individuals—again, think of a clock and ask yourself how many waking hours do you spend quality time with your child versus the “trusted” surrogate.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, people are forced into self-isolation. As heinous as this crisis may appear, it may also be a blessing in disguise.
During a time when people are pushed into self-isolation, an unprecedented amount of self-reflection should be taking place. We should be thinking about what is most important in our lives. We should be thinking about how we have either positively or negatively impacted those things we cherish most. It’s the perfect time for a “values assessment.”
Until the COVID-19 debacle, how many hours in a day did you spend time reading a book to your child? How many evenings did you allow your child to work alongside you making a scrumptious meal? How many hours did you spend outside throwing a ball to your little mini-me? How many hours did you spend cuddling as a family on the sofa watching a family movie? The list is endless and yet the list is just an example of self-reflection pertaining to potential “neglect.”
This is the time when people become defensive. “How dare you claim I neglect my own child! I do everything for my child!”
We can articulate it any way we wish but Xbox is not a babysitter nor will Xbox ever replace valuable time a child spends with a parent.
There is a self-reflection tool that exists which may help many—SODAS.
SODAS is an acronym many who work in the psychological field are familiar with. It stands for Situation, Observations/Options, Disadvantages, Advantages, Solutions. In the case of “self-assessments,” the below breaks down SODAS in the most simplistic means without getting too detailed knowing you likely do not have a psychologist by your side. Really, this is the epitome of “Keep it simple stupid (KISS).”
Situation—What is the situation you or your loved one’s face that you seek to improve upon? List every situation you can think of.
Observations/Options—With each situation listed, begin writing another list pertaining to the “why” those situations exist. Or, if those situational “Why’s” are overly simplistic, you can begin listing options you believe could potentially help resolve the situation itself.
Advantages—Under each “Observation Why” begin a new list that identifies all the positives you can think of. Example: I work twelve hours a day because by the end of the week I can go into overtime and with that money I can invest it into my child’s college fund or a family vacation.
Disadvantages—Like the advantages, you do the same exact thing but rather than the positive, you write out the negative. Example: I work 12-hour days with good intentions to get more money for my child’s college fund or a family vacation BUT on average that takes twenty hours of the work week away from those I love the most.
Solution—Here, you dissect the Advantages and Disadvantages and come up with a solution. Example: I need the extra money working 12-hour days because I want to save for a family vacation or my child’s college fund however I realize I can work eight hour days two or three days a week by downgrading my cable to a smaller bundle package considering we don’t watch 80% of the channels on that bundle.
Again, the aforementioned is just one example of how SODAS works and it is merely using one situation, observation/option, advantage, disadvantage, and solution. Technically, for every situation, you should write up as many lists as possible. In doing as many as possible, you will find coming up with a truly viable solution gets much easier. It’s a lot of work but it could be the work needed to help in the self-reflection process.
Sometimes we must find the good in the worst.
In the case of the COVID-19 crisis, as bad as things may appear, we as a society have been given a unique opportunity to embrace those whom we are supposed to love and cherish the most. We should be using this time for self-reflection and ensuring we have our values prioritized.
Maybe the COVID-19 virus is truly a virus of values.
Kerry Patton is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force turned actor, producer, director, writer, and stunt performer.
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