It feels the world I was born into has been taken from me without prior notice, without warning.
Coronavirus snuck in like a thief in the middle of the night while I slept in peace, and robbed me of my friends, my family, my education and — to an extent — my freedom. It provoked the world to change drastically.
The world as I knew it no longer exists. People’s lives have been taken from them. Anxiety, panic and fear have taken over.
Seeing the lack of essentials in stores allowed me to see there is a virus far worse than coronavirus itself. It’s called selfishness.
My eyes witness an elderly woman in tears because she didn’t make it to the water aisle in time to grab a gallon of water. My heart goes out to her. Without hesitation, I open my mouth and ask my mother if we could give the elderly woman our water. My mother replies, “Of course!” and my conscience feels relief.
At that very moment, I begin to understand for myself that kindness and selflessness are part of the cure.
Some say this is like the flu, but I don’t recall the entire world shutting down over the flu, or stores lacking essentials over the flu. I don’t recall the flu taking life as I knew it from me.
The people who are following precautions are setting an example for children. But so are others who aren’t following them.
Therefore, I kindly ask: think of others and buy just what you need, spread kindness and support. If you happen to be handling the situation a lot better than others, use that strength to lift others – don’t tell them they’re silly for panicking.
The president is the nation’s leader, yet he has not set an example for the nation’s children or the adults.
Just because I’m young and haven’t been out in the open world in the same way adults have does not mean my age should define my sense of responsiblity. I am 11 years old and I understand this. Why don’t more adults get it?
I am scared. I have panicked. I have lost sleep. But I have not lost hope.
Genesis Rios is a fifth-grader at Sheffield Elementary School. She lives in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. A version of this commentary first appeared in The Montague Reporter.