Our Leadership Is Failing Us: It’s Up to Parents to Calm Fears During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Momservation: Great change is preceded by great chaos.

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This is the world I envisioned on Election Night 2016.

I could never have imagined it would quite literally be a panicked, toilet paper hoarding, country sheltering in place, pandemic.

But in the absence of competent leadership there is chaos. And when you have no money in the bank of trust, people panic.

The coronavirus pandemic will go down in history as the day the world woke up to our responsibilities as a global society.

And revealed how Trump, indeed, ran America like a business— right into the ground with people literally paying with their lives. This is a mismanaged mess with respiratory deaths on the hands of a Republican Congress who refused tell the emperor he had no clothes.

In this column I try not to write about politics because it is so polarizing. I just want to talk about parenting. Have a few laughs together over spilled milk and a few cries in the carpool lane.

I’ve been forced to write about the outrage of mass shootings and the failings of America in letting the NRA write this narrative. But that is because our lack of gun sense is literally killing our children. The heartbreaking realities for our schoolkids are lockdown drills and slaughtered first graders, and teens on Valentine’s Day.

The reason I finally broke my polite social distancing from politics and this Momservations® column is because our children are legitimately frightened in this unprecedented time of the coronavirus. They are looking to us parents to calm their fears.

But unfortunately, we are scared too because our leadership has done nothing to assure us that America can handle this global emergency. In fact, the opposite has happened. Trump continues to downplay that we are in the midst of a global crisis in the name of trying to preserve a win in the 2020 election as Congress recessed for the weekend (complete with Senator John Cornyn posting a patronizing picture of a Corona beer) instead of working on a strategy to get through this without thousands of geriatric casualties.

So I am stepping up to say it’s up to us to provide rational leadership and a sense of security for America’s children.

What can we do when our kids, from grade-schoolers to collegiates, tell us they are scared?

  1. Turn to the scientists. These are the experts with the knowledge and facts to present the reality of what to expect. Get your information from these reliable sources. Arm your kids with facts not fear.
  2. Tune down social media. It is a breeding ground for panic and misinformation. There is no denying it is our modern form of communications, but it has never been more important to consider the source. Use it to get your verified facts and a dose of levity as needed, but when it begins to scare you, put it down.
  3. Set a good example. The experts have said the path to calming this crisis is to not congregate in crowds, practice social distancing, wash our hands regularly and well, keep hands from face, isolate if sick, get tested if you have coronavirus symptoms, recognize and protect the vulnerable population, and take necessary precautions as soon as they are identified.
  4. Don’t panic. This is not a never-ending war on our soil. This is not a famine with no relief in sight. There is not a shortage of water and other essential goods for survival. There is no need to apocalypse shop. Practice the Oxygen Mask Rule: stay calm, do what is necessary to take care of yourself so you have the ability to take care of your kids.
  5. Bring it in small. Right now the big picture is scary. Focus on what is right in front of you and what is good in your life to find comfort and calm. Count your small blessings not your bigger fears. Be grateful for what you do have, not fearful of what you could lose. Stay in the moment of what provides you a sense of love and security. Focus on what you can control.

#LeadershipBeginsWithUs  #CoronavirusPandemic   #DontKillGrampa


  1. Regan says:

    Thank you, Kelli, for a necessary dose of reality and truth. This is not about politics – it is my life. For any children with immune issues, it is not politics – it is life. The days of thinking we are getting any kind of truth from Trump and his administration of dunces were gone in 2016. Trust the scientists and not the false prophets and snake-oil salesmen. Stay strong and be happy you don’t have two five-year-olds at home.

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thanks for your thoughts Regan! As Mother Teresa says: If you want to change the world, go home and love your family. So that’s what I’m doing. Washing hands, social distancing, staying home, and loving my family. I’m listening to the scientists and the people who make me smile. Enjoy the journey, my friend – God always has better days ahead. Thanks for stopping by!

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