Peter Pan is fighting with the pirate Captain Hook. The fight is even, until Captain Hook pulls a trick on Peter and injures him.
“Not the pain of this but its unfairness was what dazed Peter. It made him quite helpless. He could only stare, horrified. Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly.”– From Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Children learn very quickly that getting sick is part of life. You get sick. Mom or Dad takes you to the doctor. Doctor gives you medicine. You soon feel better.
This is how illnesses are ‘supposed’ to work. No one asks you to stay at home for weeks and months just to avoid the possibility of getting sick. Mumma and Papa are never scared of diseases!
So, it is natural for kids to see Coronavirus (Covid-19) as a new kind of threat. And that can sometimes generate anxiety in their minds.
Is there a different way to look at things?
* * *
For all practical purposes, a virus is a living being*. The first task of every living being is to, well, live. And there are two things all living beings do:
1. Eating food
2. Creating copies of themselves
A tree gets its energy from nutrients in the soil. It creates copies of itself through seeds that fall to the ground and sprout.
A monkey eats fruits and leaves for energy. They give birth to baby monkeys to create copies of themselves.
A virus, which is an extremely tiny organism, too wants to create copies of itself. But it can’t create copies on its own. It requires to latch on to other living beings first. The living beings – they could be humans or animals — are called host. And the virus is like an unwelcome guest.
When the virus enters the host, the host itself starts feeling sick. However, the host has its own army of defenders, who rush out to fight the intruders. The virus is beaten, and the host starts feeling better.
So, who is the hero in this battle and who is the villain?
Let’s ask ourselves another question. When a tiger hunts a deer, who is the hero and who is the villain? The answer is neither. Of course, we want the deer to live. But without eating food, the tiger would become weak.
Does that mean the deer should go stand next to the tiger? Of course not! The deer does everything in its power to live and so does the tiger.
From the virus’ point of view, it is simply doing what any other organism would do. It is simply doing its job.
And we must do our job. We must be like deer. We must stay as far away as possible from the virus. And once, our smart scientists discover a vaccine or a medicine, we too will be well-protected against this new virus.
*It’s important to note that viruses don’t meet all the criteria to be classified as living beings. See this article for more information.