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RUSHING OUT OF LOCKDOWN - NOT COOL... NOT BIG... NOT CLEVER!

0_May-Bank-Holiday-In-The-UK-Amid-Coronavirus-Lockdown

When my children were small I remember watching a TV documentary. A teacher gave a child five sweets and told them that they were now leaving the room for fifteen minutes. If the sweets were still there when the teacher returned the children were promised more sweets.

Then, most entertainingly, we were treated to watching the decisions and actions of the children when they were alone in the room. Of course most took the sweets in front of them. 

It was a version of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment and the research showed that those who waited ended up with better health, higher exam results and more positive in various other outcomes.

I have thought a lot about that wee experiment as the weeks of lockdown have lengthened. 

I have heard so many suggest that they cannot wait any longer to get out from under these draconian laws. It’s a free country and we shouldn’t be asked to live like this. Sadly, some were politicians!

We need shops and we need them now. We need to get to a beach and we need to go now.It would be nice to eat out at Holohans. A few days in a hotel would be lovely.

BUT… this is much more serious than sweets. As a society we have gone through the challenge of a generation but can I suggest that the next few months might be an even bigger challenge. If we can hold back our temptation to have a little now, we can have more people alive and a more healthy environment to come back out into later down the line. Eating my sweets NOW would be murderously stupid!

Stay Home might not have been easy for many but at least we knew what was what. The shops were closed. The parks too. The police were stopping you driving too far. 

It was hard but it was easy. It is not going to be so easy when we start opening up. Then we will not be living by law but by mature decision making.

Stay Alert is a trickier deal. It needs the maturity and intelligence of a child who can refrain from a few sweets to get a load more. Staying alert means that even when things open up we need to be about the longer game. What we do in these months coming out of lockdown will effect the results in the future, maybe even if we… or our neighbours… live or die.

Why am I concerned as my life and my loved ones lives might well come down to the intelligence, maturity and selfless discipline of our nation! A shiver runs through me just typing that! Can you see what Stay At Home, plain and simple, still seems a good idea to me!!

The spiritual life is in play here too. The apostle Paul spoke about how the law was a pedagogue (teacher) saving us from our immature selves until Christ came to redeem us and then by the indwelling Holy Spirit brought about our maturity. “Strict laws are for children and freedom is only a good thing in the hands of the mature,” is a very loose paraphrase of Paul in Galatians 3;23-25.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are those who claim to be followers of Jesus and immaturely stlll worship at its altar and try to burden us all with their childishness. There are those with no interest in Jesus who act more maturely. That is how the world is.

However, what I am taking 600 words in this blog to say is that we need a maturity that perhaps we have never been tested for before. We need a social intelligence that is always looking AHEAD rather than at the NOW. We need a discipline that will re-programme every social interaction. We need a Love Your Neighbour that sacrifices every impatience to get what we want in order to stay alive and keep others alive too. 

Rushing out of lock down is not COOL… it’s not BIG… and it’s not CLEVER!

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