Often when I was growing up my Mom would make homemade bread that would be coming out of the oven right around the time of when I came home from school. It would be warm when she served it up on a plate with butter, jam, and a cold glass of milk. She would invite me to sit down and as I began eating this morsel of goodness she would ask me how my day went. We would talk about the classes I was taking, the friends I was associating with, and the activities I was doing at school. More importantly she asked how I was feeling and what was important to me. She sat there and was interested in me. And she listened more than she talked to me.
I always found it interesting that her bread was coming out of the oven at the same time I came home. I have since learned that it was not bread she was baking but rather it was a child she was raising. She was always interested in me, spent time with me, and she wanted to hear what I had to say.
She likewise would encourage me with love. I could feel of her love for me and her desire for me to feel wanted and included. She accepted me as I was and wanted the best for me. I remember that I had a disagreement with a friend and she reminded me how important friends were and that my friendship was more important than one disagreement. I remember some important goals I had and how she encouraged and helped me to achieve those goals.
I also remember the kindness in her heart during our talk sessions. How she would help me to understand how to look out for other people. She taught me how to love more than to judge other people . She wanted me to give to other people and help those where I could.
Yesterday I attended an event and sat next to three policemen from our city police force. I asked them what changes that they have seen in their calls during our time with Coronavirus. One officer remarked to me that their calls for domestic disagreements and mental health issues were up three to four fold during this pandemic. As I thought about the officer's comments, I thought about my wonderful mother and how she treated me. I thought about the lessons I learned from her to Listen, to Love, and to be Kind.
At this time of stress due to the pandemic in so many areas of our lives of employment, family, not being able to get out as much, financial, interpersonal relations, sickness, and physical health, it is important that we also remember our mental health as well. It is important that we care for those around us and do what we can to help relieve the burdens that they feel pressing on them.
The State of Utah offers a COVID 19 Stress Hotline with counselors who are willing to talk at 1-385-386-2289 from 7 AM to 7 PM as well as at "UtahStong@Utah.gov" . This is free counseling for those who need someone to listen and to talk to about the mounting pressures that they are facing. Counselors are available who speak Spanish or English. At this time of stress on us all, please be Kind, please Listen, and please show Love to your family, friends, and those around you. It is so important.