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And we don’t like it, but we need to learn, and we need to earn trust.

During this week’s regular business videoconference that I have participated in for the past five years one of my colleagues expressed unhappiness with his local municipality. He lives in Virginia and his community had decided to keep the parks and athletic fields closed. This meant Little League Baseball couldn’t start, and he has two teenage boys. Others on the call grumbled about how the various health related restrictions impacted their lives.

Thinking about it a bit I realized that for all practical purposes we are teenagers again when it comes to COVID-19. It’s like being sixteen and expecting to be handed the keys to the family car to head out with friends to a concert. We figure we understand the risks and think we are well prepared to handle all situations and the consequences.

Think back to being a parent with teenagers. As a parent you weren’t trying to be mean, you just wanted to keep your kids safe until they had more experience, understood the consequences of certain actions, and had demonstrated responsibility. That approach probably rubbed your kids the wrong way. What you intended to be care and appropriate caution was seen as restrictive and unfair. “You aren’t the boss of me”!

In the current environment the Province is a parent to municipalities and residents, but a child to the federal government. The municipalities are parents to residents and children to the province. Even the federal government is a child of sorts to the international community. Everyone is trying to do the right thing while learning how to best do it.

Just as your children probably thought they were ready to take the next step in terms of responsibility and earn additional privileges and liberties long before you thought they were, we, as adults, think we can make our own decisions on how to safely manage the COVID-19 challenges.

It’s time to sit back, relax, and trust the parents. Much as you as a parent had to figure things out ‘on the fly’, the feds, provinces and municipalities are also having to figure things out. They have the benefit of access to experts who study this and have a better, albeit imperfect, handle on what represents best practices.

And like parents they are not trying to tell you what to do, and not do, for the pleasure of it. They are simply trying to keep all of us safe until we better understand how to keep ourselves safe.

Stay safe.