In a very short time, our world and how we are expected to live in it has changed drastically. It’s surreal in a way I don’t even have words for—and I have a lot of words.
Yet we see evidence of communities and neighbors finding a way. A way to continue as communities and neighbors despite being told they aren’t allowed to come within six feet of each other.
While social distancing and isolation are the new buzzwords, it’s heartwarming to see evidence that despite the fear of contact, some people are finding unique ways to bring comfort to others.
And to do it remotely.
Two Kids in Columbus Show us the Way
If you take the time to look, there are many examples to find of those reaching out to others—to build them up, to bring them comfort.
But two young children from Columbus, Ohio show us all about bridging gaps. 9-year-old Taran Tien and his 6-year-old sister Calliope Tien wanted to do something to cheer up their elderly neighbor, 78-year-old Helena Schlam.
Schlam, who lives on her own, was under self-quarantine. And as many of us have been instructed, whether for means of quarantine or isolation, according to CBS News, she is limiting her movement to her backyard and her home.
Rebecca Tien, the children’s mother, had reached out to Schlam to see if she needed any groceries picked up. Although the offer was refused, Tien wondered if there was anything else she could do to help.
An Impromptu Concert of the Porch
The two children play the cello, and their instructor had told them to practice “virtual concerts” while at home and maintaining social distance.
So their mom had an idea.
“Helena really loves music, so I asked if the kids could come to the porch,” Tien said.
This was something Schlam was willing to accept.
“She knows I love music and I really like her kids, they’re terrific,” she said.
And 9-year-old Taran Tien said,
“We love playing the cello for other people.” He continues, “Then we thought about how she was stuck in her house, so we thought it was a great idea and might make her happy.”
Everyone benefited from this act of kindness.
It Doesn’t End There
The concert was planned for a particular time, a time when Schlam would have been using FaceTime to connect with her grandchildren in Isreal. Children who typically came to visit in the spring. Another plan torn apart due to our global situation.
So the performance didn’t end at the property line.
“So my children were not only giving a concert for Helena, but also for her grandchildren in Israel,” Tien said.
In an interview with Time, Tien also shares that both she and her husband are on the lookout for ways to keep things fun and exciting for their kids.
But there was also something deeper in her desire to help her neighbor. Tien’s mother had just undergone surgery in New York, and again, due to COVID-19, she hadn’t been able to travel there to be with her, not wanting to increase her mother’s risk.
But doing something for Schlam helped.
“So this felt like a way that I could connect to someone and help in a way that made me feel better about maybe feeling a little helpless that I couldn’t go be with my mom today.”
What about you? Is there something you can be doing to add a little joy into a neighbors life while still being responsible and adhering to our instructions to maintain social distance?
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