Time to Practice the ‘Need to Know’ Principle

 

I was in the army long ago, where I learned a lot of helpful skills I still use in my life today. (I will get to that in a few paragraphs.)

By now we are beyond the point where the tackie hit the tar (South African for ‘the rubber meets the road). It’s Day 17 of the national lockdown in SA due to the Covid-19 virus and our president has already increased the proposed 21-day lockdown with at least a further two weeks.

In the beginning it was almost fun. Everyone forwarded jokes and kept Facebook diaries of their days, their improvisations, their silliness. Nobody really expected the lockdown to be lifted after only 21 days, by hey, one could hope…

The whole Corona epidemic is a rollercoaster experience for me. I didn’t particularly look forward to the lockdown, as I presume was the case with everyone else, because limitation of movement isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a free life. But nevertheless, we all went into it positively. I still am positive – one have to be (!), but like everything new, this also wore down pretty quickly.

I too, follow the news and read everything that passed my phone screen in the beginning. The jokes were hilarious and still are, the motivational video clips and spiritual songs are uplifting, beautiful and emotional and the updates from friends, families and strangers on social media makes one smile and sometimes laugh loud. All fun and games.

But. I’m also a person who, like many of you, gets bored easily. I get fatigued very, very quickly. And my Corona fatigue started already before the lockdown! Getting fatigued can be a very dangerous thing, because what can happen is that you just switch off and ignore the situation that bores you or make you tired and can miss the things you really need to keep you safe, sound and healthy.

This Covid-19 epidemic is something really puzzling. We all ‘know’ now where it originated from, we have the ’facts’ about the virus and we are getting ‘updates’ on the spread daily. I put those in quotation marks, because I’m not sure that we get the real picture. Actually, I am sure. I have so many unanswered questions about this pandemic, which probably would never be answered. We are being given information from governments’ sides, we are bombarded with ‘expert’ opinions and on top of that, our feeds are flooded with conspiracy theories. It’s very confusing and difficult to really know what goes on, where it goes on and what precisely is done about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe everything we’ve been told. Not just about Covid-19, but in life generally. That doesn’t make me a conspiracist – just a realist. I like a good conspiracy theory though, and being a creative writer, I can even think up a few myself easily – although I never go public with it. I’ll leave it for my novels one day. 😊

Our family has quite easy circumstances to being locked down in, so we really have no reason to complain. But we are still humans. And humans tend to feel human emotions when their circumstances change. On Day 8 I felt cooped in for the first time. I could hear my husband sigh when he went to the kitchen in the morning to make coffee, and I’m sure he hears mine when I go to the bathroom in the morning and the realisation of another locked in day kicked in. Day 11 was tough again. Today is easier to stay in because of the wind storming outside. The point is even though we have comfortable circumstance to do it in, any limitations take their toll on the physically and mentally and causes our emotions to go up and down by the things that enters our minds.

And this is where my remark about being in the army comes in. One of the first things you learned when entering any defence force is the very important principle of THE NEED TO KNOW. This is for your own good, you learned, because what you did not know, you could not tell and couldn’t hurt you. This meant that a great deal of discipline had to be practiced. You were to stay out of conversations where you would hear what you were not supposed to and out of places you didn’t belong. We all know that we are by nature curious, so it is very tempting to listen to gossiping, do things which can be harmful to us and watching things that are not good for us. After all, we now have access to almost any information we want.

In today’s circumstances this is more relevant than ever. We can listen to and believe everything that we read or watch on our phones and forward it to our as-gullible family members and friends. When an overwhelming lot of information is going around as is the case at the moment, it can drive us mad.

Be honest. Can you even remember all the information, jokes, videos, songs you’ve seen during the past few weeks? Of course you can’t, because we have been bombarded with information – good and bad. We are overloaded by the news, social media and our friends and family. So that overwhelming feeling you sometimes get after reading or watching another post is very normal.

Now, on Day 17 it maybe is a good time to get a bit more disciplined in an effort to keep our sanity. We are in the middle of lockdown and the toughest part is still coming. Lockdown can even be extended again, so now is a good time to start taking better care of yourself mentally. And this is where we can implement and practice the NEED TO KNOW principle. This is where you start making decisions to your advantage – and to advantage of all those you love.

  • It is a time to start reading selectively. Read and watch only what you need to know to stay safe and healthy.
  • Laugh about and share the funny jokes.
  • Listen to good messages with spiritual input.
  • Don’t forward fake news and conspiracy theories. Check facts before forwarding and overwhelming others with info that they DON’T NEED TO KNOW!
  • Put down your phone. You don’t need to be on it the whole day and night. Read something printed on paper.
  • Keep a routine, but also do something out of the ordinary every day.
  • Even if you have to run in one place while watching a TV program. Everyone can exercise, no matter how small their place is.
  • Be creative. Build something, draw something, write something, bake something, sew something, plant something… We are people made to create, not to just duplicate (or forwarding in this context).
  • Don’t read or watch Covid-19 any other news just before going to bed.
  • Most of all – keep spiritually strong. Read the Word of God, meditate upon it and pray for all. And give thanks for what you have and for your circumstances.

The virus and its effects are still with us and it will be with us for quite a while longer. We must stay strong from the inside. There was an old WWII poster saying “Loose lips may sink ships”. Listening to and believing everything we hear and forwarding it to everyone we know, isn’t something responsible people who love their friends and family do. Discipline yourself. It starts with me and you.

Keep your ship afloat. It still has places to go after this.

 

© 2020 Fielies De Kock

Awesomest wife. Finest mom. Hopefullest writer. Foreverest dreamer. Living in a coastal village in the Overberg, South Africa, with a husband and two dogs in a small heritage house, and an adult, recently-graduated, job-seeking son in the garden cottage. His CV is available on request. 🙂🙂🙂

 

Related blog posts: https://fieliesdekock.com/2020/03/26/were-all-riding-in-this-corona-bus-together/

Related blog posts: https://fieliesdekock.com/2020/03/27/in-the-beginning-we-were-created-to-be-creative/

Related blog posts: https://fieliesdekock.com/2020/03/31/family-traditions-creates-unbreakable-bonds-and-awesome-memories/

 

 

Family Traditions Creates Unbreakable Bonds and Awesome Memories

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What do the Sunday night movie, playing Monopoly on holidays and eating dinner at the table have in common? They are the glue that bonds a family together.

According to https://www.childhelp.org/ family traditions are handed down from generation to generation and add to the rhythm and seasonality of life.

What are Family Traditions?

They are those things we tend to repeat doing when we are together, like the things mentioned above. Family traditions differ from family to family and are normally just simple things we do that we as a family love, like having rowdy conversations around the dinner table as the Italians and Greeks tend to have. Or it is taking that annual holiday to the same place every year. So many of my husband’s childhood memories derive from their seaside family holidays, so much so that we live in the town they had their holidays in! My family didn’t have seaside holidays, but we had a big mass of water nearby where we lived and we went camping there over the Christmas season when I was little. It was also my birthday this time of year and to me it felt as if I had my birthday every day during those holidays, as different family members arrived daily with gifts for me!

Family Traditions look Different and can Literally be Anything!

Times have changed and so have the activities we do. But we still participate in traditions – even though we don’t even think of them as ‘traditions’. Mom and the girls going to the mall on a Saturday morning, Dad playing cricket with the boys in the garden on Sunday afternoons, visiting the grandparents for Saturday braai or watching the rugby together, are all good examples of South African family traditions.

The Advantages of Family Traditions

Other than helping the family to bond, it also builds children’s confidence, because their parents are spending some real time with them. That makes them feel grounded and safe and help them to be more outgoing and courageous. You can read up more on the advantages of family traditions on your own.

Family Traditions in the Time of the Corona Virus

Yep, we are locked in and can’t even take our dogs for a walk in the streets, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still do things together. We are after all, cooped up together like never, ever before in our lifetimes! So, this makes it a perfect time to bring back some old family traditions or establish new ones.

If you have stopped or never eaten together at a table as a family, start doing that – even if it is for only one meal a day. Here are a few pointers for this:

  • Ban cell phones from the table and keep a few conversation starters handy to get your family talking to each other again.
  • Research a few good conversation topics which are fitting for your family’s age.
  • Allow difference of opinion, but make sure to establish rules so that it is still done respectfully and things don’t get ugly. If we teach our children to have an opinion and speak their minds at home, educators don’t have to teach them what they want to teach them.
  • Start debates about different topics. Divide everyone present into two groups and let them debate two sides of a topic. When things get heated, change it around. It is fun to see everyone suddenly out of their comfort zones when having to defend the other side! And it normally ends fights immediately.

Play together, whether it is board games or games in the garden. And don’t stop when the lockdown is over.

Create something together, such as cooking, baking and braaiing, making clothes, building puzzles, building lego or whatever your family is into.

Try to teach your children something regularly during the lockdown, but keep doing it hereafter. Teach them to pray and care for others, braai, plant veggies, snoei trees, play chess, build something out of wood, do DIY chores in the house etc. Doing this on a regular basis will not only teach them skills, but give them confidence and the ability to do things for by themselves and for themselves.

Read together. Read bedtime stories to your children from day one. (Yes, they need to hear stories in their dads’ and moms’ voices from an early age.) When they are older (and now during lockdown) you can lie around reading for a few hours a day.

Start a thanksgiving tradition, either at the breakfast or dinner table or whenever you are all gathered together and bored during the lockdown. Think about those less privileged during this time and start a ‘Thank You’ jar where you can all contribute with things you are thankful written on a piece of paper and put into the jar. Open in up in a year’s time or so and read it aloud around the table while eating.

These are just a few examples. There are lots more. You know what your family love doing. Dust off a few old ones or start new traditions. Search the Internet for more ideas if you need to.

Keeping it Up

Our young adult son is still with us at home. We continue doing things together as a family on a regular basis, such as eating together every meal, even though he lives outside in the cottage. We go for picnics at the beach and going on Sunday exploring rides etc. My sister-in-law’s two adult children are having dinner with them every Sunday evening. Some dads and their adult sons have weekly squash appointments. You get the point.

So, when this lockdown is over or when the children are all grown up, don’t stop with the traditions. Many South African families are split up and live all over the world, but with the technology available these days, we can still be ‘together’. Make a family group call on a week night/morning (depending on time differences) and kuier together on Skype or WhatsApp video calls.

Do whatever it takes to keep your family traditions going, because they create awesome and precious memories for your children which they will carry over to their children.

 

© 2020 Fielies De Kock 

Awesomest wife. Finest mom. Hopefullest writer. Foreverest dreamer. Living in a coastal village in the Overberg, South Africa, with a husband and two dogs in a small heritage house, and an adult, recently-graduated, job-seeking son in the garden cottage. His CV is available on request. 🙂🙂🙂

 

In the Beginning we were Created to be Creative

 

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God has created us to be creators therefore we are creative by nature. We reproduce, we plant and make food, build houses, create lifestyles. We create jobs or work at jobs that others have created. You should be getting the picture. None of us can claim that we “are not creative”. It is in our DNA. Being human is all about being creative.

Unfortunately, our lives had become so busy that we all aren’t that creative anymore. Some of us had become so busy and distracted with either accumulating wealth or just surviving that we let others create on our part and we are/have to be pleased with ‘buying’ other people’s creativity. We do that by shopping for bread instead of baking it ourselves, buying clothes, furniture, home decorations etc. You get my drift. Of course it is impossible to make and build everything ourselves. It is also unnecessary, because if we don’t buy other people’s creations, neither they or we will accumulate wealth/survive.

The point is that we modern people had become so busy that most of us don’t create anything at all anymore. We don’t even fix things anymore in our consumer culture. We just replace by buying new stuff. We don’t all have to build our own houses, bake our own bread, brew our own coffee, build our own furniture, make our own clothes… but SOMETIMES we can and we must make or build our own things – because IT IS GOOD FOR US!

Why Creativity is Good for Us

When we are creative it makes us healthier by building our immune systems and our confidence, it lowers our blood pressure, it balances our mental state, it makes us happier, it makes us resourceful and then guess what? It makes us even more creative. You can read more on your own time about the advances of creativity from people who knows more than I do here:

https://lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk/users/8838-nicola-vanlint/posts/4292-the-positive-benefits-of-creativity

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleystahl/2018/07/25/heres-how-creativity-actually-improves-your-health/

So, Now What?

For now my job is to help you to use the next weeks where you will definitely not be too busy because you can’t go anywhere, to be at least a bit creative every day. And who knows, maybe you enjoy it so much that you make time in your busy schedule to keep doing it when life returns back to ‘normal’ once again. So here goes.

First Things First

  • Thank your Creator for another healthy day and pray for the people who have to work to keep us healthy and safe. If you have friends working, send them a short thank you message.
  • Pray and do Bible study. And think about your life. Now is a good time for introspection. (You can also read this blog entry: https://fieliesdekock.com/2014/03/17/article-on-writing-thinking-about-life/
  • It is important to keep a bit of routine to maintain a good mental state. So, open the curtains and windows to make sure your living quarters have enough air for all the people cooped up in the small space together.
  • Make your bed immediately when you wake up. This will give you your first sense of accomplishment and gives you a mental kick. (My poor family even need to make their own beds in a hotel – even though the hotel staff does it again!)
  • Make sure everyone in the household has chores. This will not only make living together easier, but it will give everyone responsibilities which will help in making everyone feel useful. Remember, everyone can contribute, even if it is in the smallest way!
  • Don’t try to do everything you decide to do at once. Choose one or two activities a day. Make a manageable list if you want to. Remember that this free time is given to you. Don’t see it as a punishment. It is a gift. We have never been handed time on a plate like this. Let’s make the best of it and enjoy it!
  • Stay up to date on what you need to ensure the safety of your family, but don’t overload yourself with too much information, because it will have a negative influence on your mental state.
  • Make time every morning to sit together for coffee and a talk. Check everyone’s health and mental state and take action if needed.
  • Play the radio or music in the house, so that there is a lively feeling in the house.

 Ideas for the Rest of your Day

  • Write something
    • You won’t be able to write that book you are dreaming of in three weeks, but whether it is a memoir or a novel, spend half an hour every day doing research on how to go about the process and write the outline.
    • You can also follow my Instagram account @thewritingclub.dieskryfklub and do a writing prompt every day for the duration of the lockdown.
    • If you are a writer consider a specific writing schedule for the duration of staying home, such as writing a short story a week, a chapter a week, a 100-wod story per day, a poem a day etc.
    • If you have a hobby or have something that you are good at, consider starting a blog.
    • Teach your children to write a story. I will post a blog entry to help you with this shortly.
    • Start journaling. Read my blog entry about journaling here: https://fieliesdekock.com/2014/03/17/article-on-writing-journal-writing/
  • Playing games with the family
    • If you live in a house play games in the garden. Teach your children games you have played on the school playgrounds when you were young.
    • Play board and card games in the house.
    • Remember to also play make-belief games with your little ones!
  • Watch movies. Make sure to take turns to watch a favourite from each family member – big and small.
  • Work in the garden together.
  • Catch up with family and old friends on WhatsApp, Skype etc., but don’t just forward messages, pictures and videos. Write nice conversational news messages from your family or make fun videos where all family members get a turn to talk or give a message.
  • Spend some time on neglected hobbies or start a new one. Maybe examine the possibility of making money from your talent. Watch ‘how to’ videos on your interest and learn how to become better at what you love to do.
  • Read! And get your family to read. And read stories to your little ones! Read my blog entry here: https://fieliesdekock.com/2013/08/27/teach-your-child-to-read/
  • Finish unfinished projects and things that broke and is mendable. Make it an opportunity to teach your child/ren to fix things.
  • Get exercise.

Even if you live in the smallest of flats, you have to get some exercise. Search the Internet for exercise ideas in small spaces. Rolene Strauss, former Miss SA, promised on the radio this morning that she will post exercise videos for the duration of the lockdown period. Follow her on https://www.facebook.com/OfficialRoleneStrauss/

  • If you have one tucked away somewhere, dust off and switch on that forgotten treadmill!
  • Learn a new skill
    • Get out a cookbook from your shelve and learn to cook or bake something. Start sommer with a lekke bread or beskuit. If you don’t have cookbooks, Google a recipe.
    • Watch YouTube videos to learn something new.
    • Or use a good language app to finally start learning a new language. We use Duolingo. (https://www.duolingo.com/) You can download the app on your phone.
  • Since we live in the Southern Hemisphere, do some Autumn cleaning. 😊
    • Clean those neglected places you know about but never get to cleaning.
    • Sort out your pantry and fridge and freezer if you haven’t done it before stocking up.
    • Sort out not-used clothing and keep it in bags to take to charity shops after the lockdown.
    • Clean out, sort out and declutter cupboards, drawers and all other spaces one at a time.
    • Sort out your photos and back it up on a hard drive if you can too. Use an app or software and make movie clips for family viewing during the lockdown.
  • Spice normal things up!
    • Make mealtimes fun! If you live in a house, set a table outside or on the stoep. You can also let the children ‘play’ restaurant-restaurant and have them serve the dishes. In between meals they can sell you coffee (or something stronger if you are in stock).
    • If you live in a flat or when it rains, a table in the sitting room will do too. Just a change of scenery is sometimes needed to lift the spirits.
    • Think outside the box to change the way you do things to spice it up a bit.

 Remember!

A lot of what we are going to do during the next few weeks, we will do while sitting or lying down. Apart from making sure you get enough exercise, also make sure that you don’t sit too much! Sitting for long periods of time can cause other problems that you really don’t need right now. As I’m saying this, I’m going to stop writing now, because I was following my own advice and wrote this whole article standing up behind the bar counter, a la Ernest Hemmingway, and I need to sit down now!

Stay healthy! Stay safe!

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© 2020 Fielies De Kock

Awesomest wife. Finest mom. Hopefullest writer. Foreverest dreamer. Living in a coastal village in the Overberg, South Africa, with a husband and two dogs in a small heritage house, and an adult, recently-graduated, job-seeking son in the garden cottage. His CV is available on request. 🙂🙂🙂

 

We’re all Riding in this Corona Bus Together

 

We have become used to disasters wreaking havoc somewhere in the world at any point in time lately, looking on from afar and praying and feeling sorry for the people it happens to. Not this time. A petit, unseeable-with- the-naked-eye virus had made its way into homes all around the globe.

I know everyone is jumping on the wagon with jokes and tips and advice and to be honest, I’m one of those people who gets bored very easily and I already Covid-19 fatigued a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, ignoring this one isn’t a luxury we don’t have. We are all forced to deal with it.

Two thirds of the world live under restrictions already. Many countries are in lockdown mode. Tonight at 00:00 South Africa will go into lockdown too. Our little family leads quite an active lifestyle now and I will miss our walks on the cliff path alongside the sea very, very much. No running, cycling or walking dogs will be allowed during this time. We may only leave the house to get medical help and buy food, but then it is restricted to one person per family at a time as far as possible. My mind struggles to comprehend the situation, because it is unprecedented. To think we can not go out is… well, unthinkable!

We used the last opportunity today to go out to the beach where others were sitting in their cars or taking last strolls along the cliff path with their four-legged friends. (Don’t worry, it is a small town, so the social distancing was well implemented!) Restaurants in our town are closed already. Apart from the petrol stations, supermarkets, pharmacies and medical institutions everything else will not open tomorrow morning.

This is not just a bus passing by. We are already on it and we will stay on it and only get off when it is time to get off. So, we should do it together and make the best of it by helping where we can and praying for the vulnerable, the needy and for the economy. And who knows how many good things can come from it also! We already see the positive influence that people staying home has on pollution in places like China and Venice. And how people are singing together on balconies in Italy. And how people reach out and help each other everywhere else. Maybe this little scary thing will teach us to be human again.

If you aren’t working for an essential service such as medical assistance, policing, crime prevention and food transportation or working in a supermarket, a petrol station or keeping us informed on radio and TV or doing something else that is important and needed, you WILL be stuck at home for the next twenty one plus days.

So, consider using the time you have productively to rest and do the things that you never have time for or start working on that dream you have, but don’t chase.

To all our heroes who have to go out every day to work to keep us all safe, happy and sound, we salute you and we pray for your health and safety.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine upon you,

and be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

and give you peace.”

(Numbers 6:24-26- NKJV)

Stay healthy and safe. Until tomorrow, when I will have a few ideas for you on how to spend your time in such a manner that you get enough rest, but do things to keep you not only physically healthy – but most importantly – also mentally sound.

Enjoy your walk or run tonight. And sleep well knowing that “He has the whole world in His hand…”

Until tomorrow when I will have a few ideas for you on how to spend some time in a creative way during the lockdown here: https://fieliesdekock.com/2020/03/27/in-the-beginning-we-were-created-to-be-creative/.

 

© 2020 Fielies De Kock

Awesomest wife. Finest mom. Hopefullest writer. Foreverest dreamer. Living in a coastal village in the Overberg, South Africa, with a husband and two dogs in a small heritage house, and an adult, recently-graduated, job-seeking son in the garden cottage. His CV is available on request. 🙂🙂🙂