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The Bar Bulletin
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Apr. 2, 202006:09 AM EST

Avoid the bunker mentality

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When confronting uncertainty, the temptation is to isolate yourself from others, but we need other people and they need us, even if by video.

By David Chauncey, JBA Young Lawyers Association   

David Chauncey, JBA Young Lawyers Association

I was walking through my favorite grocery store looking for baby wipes. There were none. After the toilet paper was gone, it seems that baby wipes were next in line.

That’s all well and good unless, like my wife and me, you have a newborn.

I had a bit of a panic attack. What was going to happen? How was I going to provide essential products to my wife and baby?  And then: Do I feel sick? Is the economy crashing? When is there going to be toilet paper again?

In just a few weeks, our whole lives have been shaken. Everything has been turned upside down.

I think many of us have had similar moments during this COVID-19 pandemic. Uncertainty breeds anxiety and anxiety can be crippling, personally and professionally. 

On the other hand, a lot of people are not taking any precautions or may be mocking the situation. 

We need to reject both extremes. We cannot be filled with crippling fear or paranoia, but we need to be prepared and concerned for others. 

Throughout human history, prosperity sometimes has bred complacency. Yet, it has been the uncertain and difficult moments that reveal the true character of people and communities. Perspective matters.

The Greatest Generation was considered great because, although not perfect, they endured the worst of times and rose to the challenge. Difficulties reveal greatness.

What do tough times reveal in you? You cannot control a worldwide pandemic, but what can you control?

This is a time to be a good neighbor to those you know who are most at-risk by safely grabbing groceries or supplies for them. This is a time to support your favorite local business. Use proper hygiene. Show mercy to others, even under the stress of the day.

Thank the medical professionals who are working hard around the clock to help the sick. Thank the teachers who have a job that often is underappreciated. Thank the first responders and law enforcement officers who are working to protect us.  

Call your grandparents, your parents, your siblings and some close friends often. The temptation is to isolate yourself from others, but we need other people and they need us, even if by video.

The bunker mentality is easy to adopt. You should “socially distance” yourself, but don’t socially abandon.

I take for granted the world around us. I take for granted my family and friends. I take for granted a country with freedom and more prosperity than at any time in history.

I take for granted the sacrifices of those who got us here and the resilience and determination it will take to leave a better world to our descendants, including my baby daughter.

Often, we are completely distracted by issues at work or entertainment, sports and social events. Consequently, we lose track of priorities. In one unfortunate and extraordinary moment, so many of those distractions are gone. 

Our businesses are shaken. Our markets are shaken. Our governments are shaken. Our institutions are shaken.

What is your foundation during this storm?

Faith, hope and love will remain when all the rest is gone. I am confident that after the valley, there will be a new mountaintop to climb. The supply lines will be restored. There will once again be toilet paper and baby wipes. 

In the meantime, although we cannot control the worldwide pandemic, let’s reveal our greatness and the greatness of our community during the most uncertain of times by rejecting crippling fear and looking out for one another.

 

Dave Chauncey is an attorney with Alexander DeGance Barnett focusing on labor, employment, education and general business litigation. 

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