As the U.S. prepares for our annual Fourth of July celebrations this coming weekend, this year takes on a different tone as we continue to endure the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. There will be very few picnics, barbecues, and pool parties, although I have heard about some virtual fireworks events, as well as ones that can be viewed from your car.
Necessary? Also, yes.
It’s a reasonable aspect of the social contract to ask people to do their part to quell a pandemic. Especially here in America as cases are spiking in record numbers across multiple states, most people will comply with recommendations to stay home, if possible, and socially distance if they need to go out.
As a result, this year’s Independence Day will look very different than those in the past. It may prompt us to consider the smaller freedoms we enjoy as citizens, as we quarantine and contribute to protecting the health of our communities. While our personal liberties may feel limited, in times of crisis we’re asked to step up and make sacrifices for the betterment of all.
Maybe choosing to self-quarantine is its own act of freedom. We can say to ourselves: “I choose to stay home to protect the health of my neighbors. I don’t have to, but I will because I’m free to make choices to support the greater good.”
The Freedom to Connect and Learn
The July Fourth holiday marks the beginning of the second half of the year and may (hopefully) represent a time to regroup and gather strength to persevere through an inarguably difficult year. It celebrates the Declaration of Independence and the foundational tenets asserted in that document. Those principles are still at the core of who we are as a country and support the possibilities of what we may eventually become.
Some of the most famous words in that document and in the history of the nation refer to the belief that all people “…are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – for most of us, all three of those things require connection to others as well as the ongoing development of ourselves. During these difficult times, how can we continue to do that – stay connected to our families, colleagues, communities, country, while we fortify our own inner strengths and joys?
Distanced Doesn’t Mean Disconnected
Technology remains an underlying blessing during this crisis. Imagine if we didn’t have phones, computers, apps, etc. through which to connect? It’s been the ground beneath our feet to keep relationships active, to keep businesses running, to keep people informed and healthier.
And as we rely on technology to connect us, we can also rely on it to challenge and improve ourselves. In fact, this may be a particularly good time for self-development, given extra time at home and dramatically fewer social engagements.
My team at SAP Litmos has recently been offered new opportunities for training, which is really cool. We’ve been encouraged to take extra courses whether in our professional capacities, or in our personal interests and talents. We’re being reminded that there’s never been a better time to learn and evolve, as the world changes and new ways of doing business emerge.
Similarly, if your company is looking for training resources to help adapt to doing business during the pandemic, we welcome you to access the SAP Litmos New Adaptivity Academy. This site offers free courses and learning paths for managers and employees adjusting to new ways of working.
Remember, just because we’re socially distanced, doesn’t mean we need to be disconnected. It doesn’t mean we need to be stuck or frozen in time. This Fourth of July, I’m extra grateful for the freedom to access technology, for the right to communicate freely across those numerous channels, and for the opportunity to leverage them to learn and grow.
Happy Fourth of July!