Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Childhood, Interrupted, by Sanjay Gupta (author, narrator)

Audible Originals, August 2020

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, gives us a short (46 minutes) but enlightening rumination on children, the pandemic, and how it's affecting us all.

At first, like probably most of us, he assumed the COVID-19 pandemic would be like an earlier coronavirus outbreak: SARS. That was a cause of concern, but was ultimately contained without as much damage as feared, and never had any serious impact on the US. We soon learned that this one is different, for a variety of reasons he doesn't discuss because it's not the point of this audiobook. Six months later, we're wearing masks, limiting our  contact with others--and having real conflict over whether or not we send kids to school in the new school year.
Children need social contact and interaction. We're a social species; it's part of how we mature into healthy adults. Yet, to mature into healthy adults, we also have to survive to do so. It appears that COVID--19 is significantly less dangerous for children than adults, but less dangerous doesn't mean not dangerous, and children have died or had lasting consequences from it. There's also no question that children can carry it, and potentially infect teachers or family members who are at much higher risk. What would be the impact on a child of perhaps being the one to expose a grandparent or favorite teacher who then died of it?

Dr. Gupta talks about he tries to balance the concerns for his three daughters, and his family. Children are certainly losing out by not attending school, but there are ways to compensate for that, and children who get good emotional support can be resilient. His family has always strictly limited screen time, but that's not practical right now, when it's both the main way his children attend school, and they way they can continue to interact with friends. Is this perfect? No. Is it a necessary and sensible compromise int the current circumstances? Yes. There are other choices and decisions that may or may not be absolutely right, but every family has to, beyond a certain point, recognize that we don't know everything, there isn't perfect advice out there for every aspect of this new virus, and sometimes you just have to make a decision and live with it.

There's thoughtful advice and calming reassurance here, and it's worth listening to. Recommended.

I received this audiobook as part of the Audible Originals program, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

No comments:

Post a Comment