Local News in a Pandemic

I generally avoid watching televised news, particularly our local televised news. The quality is less than impressive, the content is questionable, and on a slow day, which is most days, they repeat it to fill time.

For the past few days, our local news providers have been on a new kick. I do not know if this is only here, but lately our local news seems obligated to include a ‘news’ clip of some parent who hosted a drive by birthday party for their poor child, who has been forced to sit out their birthday alone – in their +/- million dollar home.

Rather than calling reporters to take in this spectacular effort to convince your darling child that, even in the midst of a global crisis, they are the centre of the universe, I thought I might throw out a few alternate suggestions – for a birthday celebration or any other day during this difficult time.

1. Teach your child that over seventy thousand people have lost their lives to the corona virus and that by staying home, and forgoing a birthday party, they are doing their part to protect themselves and others from a deadly disease.

2. Teach your child that any parades should be reserved for heroes – ie doctors, nurses, medical support staff, truck drivers, supermarket and pharmacy staff, those serving free meals to those in need – all who are out there risking their own lives, to serve others

3. Teach your child to be grateful that their isolation is being spent in a beautiful home, with food on their table and family to care for them – unlike those who are in crowded makeshift medical facilities, sick and alone except for busy and exhausted care givers.

4. Teach them to do something for someone else – make a meal for the family, call a grandparent, help entertain and care for younger siblings. Even very young children can be taught to contribute in their own age appropriate way.

5. Teach them to become politically active by writing a note to a politician asking them to save lives by closing down non-essential business like non-emergency construction projects and factories and plants that are not producing essential products. Teach them to stand up to those who put money and power before lives.

There is no reason, why families cannot celebrate a birthday – even during a pandemic. They can still have presents and cake, phone calls or face time from extended families and friends, special family time together. However, I do not think anyone needs a birthday parade, I think that in our current situation it is in poor taste, and I for one definitely do not need to see it on a newscast – local or otherwise.