Today, my wife, son, and I went for about a two-hour car ride, never venturing more than five miles from our house.
The purpose of the trip was for my wife to drop off schoolwork for her preschool students. A fellow teacher had put together a driving route, using Mapquest, that configured the best route for the 15 or so stops we had to make.
My wife has been meeting with her four-year-old students through Zoom as well as posting YouTube videos of her reading classic children’s books as a way to keep the students engaged in the learning process during the school shutdown. While such technologies are great, they still can’t replace that human connection that comes from being in the same classroom as someone.
So it was wonderful seeing how excited the kids were when they saw “Mrs. Borden” in their front yard, and you could tell what a special relationship existed between her and her students. My wife is an exceptional teacher who loves what she does ￼and I could tell she got as much joy out of those brief exchanges (from probably 20 feet away) as the children did.
Seeing those interactions between teacher and student was certainly the highlight of our “road trip”, but the other thing that really left an impression on me was how many people we saw walking outside. Whether it was a single person or a couple, I think every street we drove on during our two-hour drive had people walking and/or running on it. As you might expect, many of these people were out walking their dogs as well. And in one unique case, there was a family out walking with their cat. The cat was not on a leash, but it walked right behind the family. Cats being cats, she kept turning around to look at us as we were approaching in our car, but never once moved out of the middle of the street until one of the family members came over and picked her up, enabling us to pass them.
I guess we are kind of lucky in our part of the world where the current weather is conducive to being outside and going for walks. If it were the middle of the winter, I think dealing with COVID-19 would have been much more challenging.
There’s no doubt that this virus has been incredibly disruptive, but it was encouraging to see so many people out and about, and it was especially rewarding to see the smiles on the faces of those four-year-olds.
It made me feel hopeful for what lies ahead…
*image is from Mapquest, showing an example of the most efficient roundtrip route to visit all the Big 5 schools, starting at Villanova…