Leadership and Can Do
I‘ve daily watched CV19 reports since they began in early January of 2020. I don’t usually become obsessed with world news of new deadly viruses, but my children are world travelers these days, so that put me in a different spot.
My son teaches English in Madrid and absolutely loves it. My daughter is a senior at the University of Texas and her last studio included a trip to Japan in mid February. So, yes, I was obsessed and more than a little upset the students still went to Japan. but they arrived back in Austen on February 20th, and all have remained well so far as we know (given the state of testing).
Because of my sMothering obsession, I had watched this thing spread, and the panic which spread with it. I had started doing what WHO said and buying one of two extra canned food or non perishable items. I began talking to the kids about what to do and what we would do in the eventuality of Coronavirus coming our way. I also began talking to my staff.
One of my mottos has long been: prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
My son was relaying to us how the Spaniards were just going on with their business and laughing at the rest of the world, while I was telling him that we’d help support him when the schools closed. We talked through whether he should come home or wait it out. Of course, he would stay, he has such joy being in Madrid.
My daughter was also buying extra canned food, here and there, while being a little upset that some of the students were not taking it serious. Of course I told her not to begrudge them that, just keep preparing and hope they were wrong.
As the situation began its inevitable change in the US, and our plans began to roll out at work, it felt good to be prepared. I was so glad when the mayors of the country finally got together and planned for their people. Governors began issuing Executive Orders, and we were ready for them. I’m so thankful for the leadership of technology which gave us that ability.
Even so, when the first case was confirmed in our rural county, I still had a crises of conscience. We were buttoned up, sanitizing, and spread out at work, some even working from home in their pjs. Once a local bank closed its lobby on Wednesday, March 18, we did the same, greatly reducing the in-and-out traffic, though we allowed the previously scheduled in office closings.
When the first documented case was announced in our rural county on Thursday night, March 19, I had crises of conscience through the night. Was I doing enough as a leader to protect everyone? Friday the 19th we still had mostly in office closings (beginning Monday, so far it’s all electronic). The plan Friday was to continue spreading out, limited to the parties themselves, in separate closings, sitting at a distance, sanitizing, wiping down the surface, running the air purifier. These closing were all closings assigned to an excellent escrow officer.
Friday morning, I found that I could not send her in the closings. I had to do it myself. Period. I guess I’d make a pretty lousy modern day general. But I couldn’t live with myself otherwise.
So I went in myself, and that was the absolute right decision, though it means even longer hours than I’m already spending for the work I must do. Everyone was lovely. I’ve never seen so many men reaching repeatedly for that hand sanitizer!
I watched the Dallas mayor give a special report last night (Saturday the 21st) on the news. There is still very little testing going on in Texas so our numbers are false. Dallas has the most now, but is also the site of free drive through testing for people who meet qualifications.
Here is what the mayor said in his special report. I’m not sure the news of this will reach you, so I want you to know this. Just as we did during WWII, converting factories for war time, we must do that now. Those who can, begin making the things we need for the shortages we are facing. Shortages for the health of our first responders and medical community, ventilators, and the like. He said we could no longer wait for the Federal Government to issue this call, we must do it ourselves. It’s like the lab in Washington, studying the spread of flu, which noticed the high number of flu negative swabs they had which likely were CV19. The leader there decided to test regardless of fed rules not to, and when confirmed she informed the local public health organization. Of course, the feds then shut down her lab, but she made the absolute right decision and tipped off the state just before the nursing home patients began to die.
I’m reminded how much I love the American people. We do have leaders among us, we’ve always been a “can do” people, and that has not changed. Let’s keep finding our “can do” through this, realize the priorities here, and do what we must to get through this.