What Have We Done to the Children?

“Mommy, I’m not going to dance class anymore,” the three-year-old announced.

“Why not sweetie? Did something happen?” asked her mom.

“I don’t have any friends there. No one smiles at me,” she answered.

And that was it, the end of dance class.  A little afterthought made the situation clearer. The girl’s simple logic determined that even though she was trying to smile at others, (from under her mask), she could not see the smiles of others (hidden under their masks), and so determined that she had no friends.


“Mom, I shouldn’t go to school anymore. I made my class sick.”

This grade one student was sure, that because he became sick, it must be his fault that others in his class were also sick. Even though his parents tried to alleviate his concern, (the school had notified them he was a close contact before his own illness), something occurred at school to convince him it was his fault.


Tugging on the teacher’s clothing, a little grade one girl made her presence known.

“Teacher, I can’t hear you,” she said, unable to understand her mentor through her mask.

Abruptly, the teacher turned, producing a hockey stick. She informed the little girl that she must stay that far away from everyone, the length of the hockey stick. Later at home, the little girl shared the frightening experience with her parents.


These are but a few accounts I have been told of in the past year. As a society, we likely will never fully know the traumas inflicted on our children during this time.

Children, in critical stages of speech and social development, have been living in a climate of fear often resulting in stigmatization. In an era where we preach inclusion and ‘no-bullying’, many children have suffered the opposite. Some even learned to become the bullies, repeating vitriol picked up from parents and other authority figures who were emboldened to speak against the ‘unclean’.

I truly hope that with the lifting of Saskatchewan mandates, our communities will be able to fully heal.

Recently, I was encouraged by a letter (probably sent to all MLA’s) which read:

‘Dear Leader of Saskatchewan,

Thank you for removing the mandates. I am so excited that I can go anywhere now,

 like the skating rink. Thank you! Please keep on fighting for our freedom so that 

 we can go back to the way that we were before. Thank you.’

I replied to the writer,

‘Thank you for your lovely note about the removal of mandates in Saskatchewan.

It is very thoughtful of you to send your thanks. Connecting with each other is the best way to build friendship and community. I hope you have a wonderful time enjoying skating and other activities.’

In spite of new national challenges that have arisen in our country since the announcement to end provincial mandates, connecting with each other in compassion and friendship will be a critical part of re-establishing our society.

In this time of Family Week, please extend your hand.