Family, Tradition, And Covid-19

Jobs lost, incomes reduced, opportunities for advancement delayed – these are some of the obvious economic impacts of COVID-19. Then, as a consequence, people will feel more stress, and may succumb to depression and other mental health issues.

But it never occurred to me that the situation may also contribute to the rise of family violence. It was a surprise and it saddened me because family should be a safe place.

One of my sons lost his job when the tourism industry became the first casualty of this pandemic. Then, my youngest son sadly informed us that his polytechnic graduation ceremony was cancelled. The whole family was looking forward to this very important milestone.

All these came just a couple of months after my wife was diagnosed with cancer. The emotional triggers were there. I’m sure both my sons felt miserable. But my wife consoled them and said that she was blessed to have them look after her at home.

When the Masses were suspended, we revised our family tradition by attending the online Mass together. Then we restarted our Family Rosary Prayer, followed by dinner at home.

Our community, Couples for Christ, followed suit by switching to online prayer meetings. Would you believe that it was the youths in our community who started it? And then, instead of hanging out after the prayer meeting or rather they would say “chilling” in the malls, they would now stay online to chat or play games.

It is coming to a week now that I am working from home.  This gave me the time, otherwise spent commuting, and the opportunity to watch the Free Online Screening Event for Holy Week of the Pivotal Players by Bishop Robert Barron.

What I’m driving at is that if it is not COVID-19, it might be something else turning our world upside down. But we always have the choice to decide how we are going to deal with it – the way of the world or the way of Jesus Christ.

Manolo L. Fetalvero is a husband, father of three boys, and the IT Manager of Caritas Singapore. He loves listening to classical music and sings R&B songs. His favourite singers are Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.