Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

All These Things Can Lead to Grace

We had watched Serpico together, the real-life story of a NYPD office who went undercover to expose corruption in the police force from 1960 to 1972. Our family always watched police dramas together, nonfiction and fiction alike. My sister and I were in high school, and at that time, our father was a police detective responsible for forgery and fraud, and our mother was the police dispatch supervisor. 
After watching Serpico, I remember asking my dad if there were any bad cops in our hometown police department. He paused, then gave me this answer:

"Well, son, there are good cops, and there are bad cops, just like there are good bakers and bad bakers. Unfortunately there are always some who don't play by the rules and hurt others. But for us, yes, there are mostly good cops."

I responded, "But bad bakers don't kill other good bakers, or other people."

My dad smiled and nodded. "You are correct, son. You are correct. They do not. Not usually."

They never do. They just go out of business, I thought.

Our dad wasn't without his own biases, or our entire family for that matter, but time and again while he was alive and after he passed away, and after 32 years on the force, good guys and bad guys alike couldn't help but like him. He taught us a lot empathy, inclusion and forgiveness, even when it wasn't intentional. Our mom did the same. They both loved their families and God. 

And then in the summer of 2012 he was gone, and four months later she was gone. It's hard to imagine them here today, in the middle of pandemic with all the health issues they used to have, of what we'd have to do to care for them. 

But I do want them both here today -- I know my sister does as well. I want my dad to be here and to tell me why there are still bad cops doing the wrong things in our communities. Why they hate so much and keep using such excessive force killing black and brown men and women. Why supposedly good cops stand by and do nothing. Why so many of them are never arrested or prosecuted. Why so many police reforms are never sustained. Why the normalcy of racism in this country continues.

The recent killing of George Floyd by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck until he stopped breathing, has incited protests and violence across the U.S. This because George Floyd, an unarmed African American had supposedly tried to use a counterfeit bill at a convenience store. George Floyd, one more name in a sea of names that, when I think about, I couldn't name, other than Ahmaud Arbery. He was another unarmed black man who was jogging and then chased by two white men and gunned down because they said they were trying to make a citizen's arrest, when there is no such thing. 

Thankfully there are those who help us remember, like the daughter of an old friend from high school who created a poster with all the names. 

I want my dad (and mom) here today to help answer the why questions, because I struggle to answer them for my own daughters. My wife and I have be teaching our girls about slavery and how people of color have been treated poorly throughout American history since they were little. 

Both girls listened and ask legitimate questions like "why would people do that" over and over, questions that aren't hard for us to discuss, but hard for us to answer being a white family who have not experienced systemic discrimination like non-whites have in this country for hundreds of years. Which is why, at the end of the day, my dad probably wouldn't be able to answer them either, no matter how hard he tried. White supremacy is the legacy of the modern day police force and it needs a bigger condemnation than "good cops and bad cops," and more serious reforms than have fizzled out to date. Don't get me wrong, I love my dad, I just wish we would've gone deeper on this subject together. 

The other day I told my daughters about George Floyd and what's been happening in our country. They didn't know because we don't watch the news with them. 

"I don't understand why skin color matters!" said Beatrice, after I finished.

"I know," I said. 

"They just need to get over it!" said Bryce.

"Who?"

"White people." 

Wow, Bryce. Sadly, that's the argument made by too many whites today, that they have nothing to do with racism, that black and brown people have more rights than they do, that they need to get over it, especially if all they're going to do is burn everything down. This continues to be the dividing sentiment of the day. 

Thankfully my wife works for Kidpower and I'm so glad that Kidpower community reminded me of their commitment to safety and justice for all: 

At Kidpower, we believe that everyone has the right to safety, respect, peace, and justice. We are heartbroken about the suffering and tragedy caused by racist attacks and discrimination against people of color in our communities, at our borders, and around the world. We will continue to speak out and take action to protect and empower all people

Yes, continue to speak out and take action to protect and empower all people. Always.

But then I also keep thinking about the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote someone posted on my Facebook wall that ended: 

Riot is the language of the unheard.

I am privileged. I am biased. I am white. I am male.

I empathize. I sympathize. I fight the good fight. 

Everyone has the right to safety, respect, peace, and justice. 

I hope that Minneapolis police officer is prosecuted and locked up for the rest of his life, and that the officers who were with him are arrested as well. 

I'm tired of the commentary that includes, "Well, I don't like what happened to that black man, but I don't agree with violent protests."

I don't agree with them either; our family has been a part of many peaceful protests. Those committing the current violence in our communities and looting and destroying businesses should also be held accountable. So many business were already on the brink of bankruptcy because of COVID-19. And one of my employees and his wife and family live not more than a mile from the violence in Minneapolis. 

My sister was also a police officer for many years, and we both still have friends and family who are in law enforcement, good people who's lives are now in danger.  

But, imagine being subjected to 400+ years of institutionalized systemic racism and violence. Of being afraid of walking down the street and being harassed by the police because you're a black or brown male. 

Then imagine bringing a bazooka or an assault rifle into a sandwich shop or a state's capital building. Of law enforcement not doing a thing about it because you can, and because you're white. 

I want to be part of positive change. I don't want my city burned down.

I empathize. I sympathize. I fight the good fight. 

And I miss my mom and dad. I miss talking with them about life and current events that affect us all, even if we didn't always agree on them. Our girls didn't get a chance to know them like I wanted them too, since they were so young when my parents passed away. 

What we did agree on was the fact that positive change starts with our children and grandchildren. That we should teach them compassion, empathy, forgiveness, inclusion and understanding. All these things can lead to grace, a new normalcy desperately needed today. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Our Freedom Is Always Welcome

"If I could wave my magic wand
I'd set everybody free..."

–Rush, Presto


She used to be a certified diver. Even worked at a marine science camp for a couple of years, which was years before I met her. After we started dating, we traveled all over the world, including many places with warm water where we did plenty of snorkeling. I always wanted to get certified to scuba dive, but it just never happened. I thought about doing it in the Monterey Bay where we live, where the water is a chilly 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit year round. But that never happened either.

Of course, I'm talking about me and my wife, Amy, mother of our two daughters, Beatrice and Bryce. Ever since we met almost 23 years ago one day on the beach, Amy never went into the water where we live, only the year we met when it was an El Niño year and the water was warmer than usual and October was really hot.

Over the years since our daughters were born, they both have loved playing in the ocean. Still love playing in the ocean. So much so that we got them wetsuits and have gone from inflatable boogie boards to regular boogie boards. No surfing lessons yet, but lots boogie boarding and splashing around. I got a wetsuit and bigger boogie board last year and now join the girls in the ocean.

Finally, Amy caved in and joined us this year, with a new wetsuit on and boogie board in hand. It only took the current COVID-19 pandemic to drive her into the water, since we're not going anywhere anytime soon, even with more states opening up now that the summer is upon us. She's glad she did, too! So much fun!

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, an American holiday where we honor and mourn military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces -- over 1.1 million men and women killed in all U.S. wars to date. It's also the official kick-off to summertime and the countdown to school being over again for another year. We're planning even more boogie boarding time!

Except this time, everything's different. We still have shelter-in-place orders upon us. School has been distance learning for our kids and millions of others. Our kids (and millions of others) are more stressed than they've ever been. We've only had mostly virtual contact with friends and family. Our beaches where we live are closed from 11 am to 5 pm, unless you're in the ocean and/or exercising on the beach (which we do!). Meaning to keep it moving and not camping out on the beach under the wonderful Santa Cruz sun like so many people love to do on a holiday weekend like this.

We also need to keep social distancing and wear masks in public and in stores in order to keep flattening the curve and mitigating the spread of coronavirus. Nearly 100,000 people have died in the U.S. from this virus and we're closing in on 2 million confirmed cases. The economy has also been rocked by this pandemic, with over 40 million people now out of work. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk remains closed, with 1,100 workers being laid off and furloughed just last week, so there's no summertime amusement park for our area to enjoy.

Through everything we've all experienced during this time of COVID-19, I keep thinking about the importance of Memorial Day, probably now more than ever. Why? That's a great question. My dad was in the Air Force, but never served during wartime, and we've had other friends and family in the armed services, but no one we knew who ever died serving. Plus, we don't agree with the reasons for many of the wars post WWII. However, we understand we're a democratic republic with many civil liberties and personal freedoms so many other parts of the world have never known.

I'm threading a needle here, and it's an important one, one that has kept our nation's fabric and flag mostly intact for almost 250 years, regardless of where we stand on any issue and all the cultural divisions and societal inequities of today. We should never forget the sacrifice military men and women have given our country since the Revolutionary War. It doesn't matter if some of them struggled with what they were asked to do, they still sacrificed themselves for this country and for our constitutional freedoms.

Which is why it's really not much to ask citizens today to sacrifice some our own personal freedoms for the greater good of saving lives and livelihoods in curbing this pandemic as quickly as we can. Or, at least, it shouldn't be that much to ask. And because my family can still go to the beach and boogie board in the ocean, we can continue to make the sacrifices needed today for tomorrow.

We thank you all for your service and sacrifice. Our freedom is always welcome.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Well of Strength

"Right to the heart of the matter
Right to the beautiful part
Illusions are painfully shattered
Right where discovery starts
In the secret wells of emotion
Buried deep in our hearts..."

–Rush, Emotion Detector


In the good ol' days, we never wore helmets while riding our bikes down the street, to the oak grove we called Little Forest, to school, to anywhere for that matter. We even rode our bikes to a convenience store nearly a mile away and back, which included crossing a couple of major intersections and going under a highway overpass. Not only that, we had more freedom than we knew what to do with. We'd play for hours outside until dusk, rain or shine, riding our bikes forever.

Decades later, and now hundreds of Gen X memes on social media later, we proudly reminisce how tough we were back then and how whiny and weak the Millennials and Gen Z are today. Back then, we'd fall off our bikes and get right back up on them again and ride off into the sunset with blood, guts and glory threading the needles of life before us.

And yet, for many of us, we could never talk about our feelings. Weren't encouraged to talk about our feelings. Were afraid to talk about our feelings. And if we did talk about them, we were told abruptly we were okay and to toughen up. To just deal with them and get a move on.

My sister and I were fortunate that we had a mother who did her best to listen to us, to give us permission to feel and express those feelings, to try and heal and grow from their acknowledgement. We grew up with domestic violence and sexual abuse and there were many dark moments in our lives back then. However, with the exception of a few good friends and even fewer accessible adults, it took decades for me to express all the feelings I had growing up. Feelings that manifested into anxiety, addiction, anger and depression.

Today, there's so much loss everywhere because of the coronavirus impact. Our youngest daughter Bryce calls it the bad history. Our oldest daughter Beatrice struggles to go to sleep nearly every night. My wife Amy and I encourage our two daughters to talk about their feelings. Not just at our weekly family meetings where we share compliments, gratitude, appreciation and talk about managing our emotions -- we check in with each other every single day. Amy and I empathize and share our feelings as well and talk about different ideas on how to deal with them. How do we get past them and thrive. Drawing, painting, outdoor activities and exercise, breathing exercises, meditation and even yoga have also been helpful coping strategies for our family. And I loved the recent Brené Brown podcast with Dr. Marc Brackett on "Permission to Feel"!

Who the hell plans for a pandemic anyway? Not everyday people, that's for sure. The stress that COVID-19 has wrought on society is unlike anything any of us have experienced in our lifetimes. Millions are out of work, out of school, out of all sorts, while hundreds of thousands continue to die from a deadly mutating virus that is still over a year away from having a vaccine.

This is why we have to be emotionally available to each other, especially our children. According to Kidpower, emotional safety for our kids and ourselves include the following recommendations:

Talk with family members and check in often. This is important for yourself and also for your kids. Provide many opportunities to listen to children no matter how small their concerns may seem.

Kids may need your help to actually find the names for feelings they are experiencing. There are many helpful, printable charts that you can find online of people’s faces matched up with emotions to help young children identify feelings. Drawing, painting, writing, and music can all be excellent ways to express feelings.

When big feelings come up, try to respond to kids in a calm, consistent, and nurturing way. Kids are emotionally safest if they believe their adults are calm and in control.

I'm tired of the tough. Of people thinking need to go it alone. Of doing it themselves. Of not letting themselves cry. Of the toxic masculinity that continues to surge again and again. Physical toughness may help in some situations, but not at the expense of emotional safety and a lifetime of anger and despair. That's not resilience. Resilience is the ability to recover more quickly when things go awry in our lives, and the capacity to identify and express our feelings is what builds our resilience. Acknowledging vulnerability and the fact that we're fallible beings who should be accessible to each other with empathy and love, and how resilient we are in dealing with it all, are all key to balanced life.

We're now letting our girls spend more time alone and venture off a little more on their own, and that includes riding their bikes without us. Our oldest Beatrice rode home ahead of us on one occasion recently. She opened the garage door, put the bike away, and went inside the house, where her sister had been waiting for us, alone. We were only a minutes behind, and not without safety plans for all, of course, with us as the calm and controlled adults "inside and outside" the room. We're working on a healthy independence dependent on the interdependence of our family. (Say that five times fast and put it into practice!)

We all deserve to be physically and emotionally safe, to be able to express how we feel and why we feel. That's not weakness either. That's a well of strength buried deep in our hearts we fill with love.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

This Bad History

At first, the time capsule seemed appealing to her. The idea of it, at least, of putting things from her life today in 2020 in a box that would remind her of this life today 20+ years from now.

Her third grade teacher assigned the time capsule project to her class, we discussed it, she was onboard, and then we identified a box for her to use. The first thing she wanted to put in the box was the picture of our family on the beach wearing our coronavirus face masks that her Auntie Jill made, my wife's sister.

"What else do you want to put in there, Bryce?" I said.

Bryce, our youngest daughter, thought for a moment, and then she said, "The President."

"Our current president?"

"Yes."

I paused, sorting words in my head to choose them carefully.

"Okay, that sounds great. So, a picture of him?"

"Yes. A picture."

"Okay, you can help me pick one out. Why a picture of him?"

I couldn't help but ask. Both our daughters know how we feel about the current administration and they are also more aware of current events themselves than ever.

"Because of history," Bryce said, as if I should've already known the answer.

"Great, so what else do you --"

"Bad history," she interrupted.

"Bad history?"

"Yes, bad history. The virus, the president, no more school..."

Her voice trailed off. I could tell she was becoming upset.

"Okay, bad history. I understand. Let's figure out what else you want in the box."

"I don't want to do this anymore right now," she said.

"Okay, Sweetie. I understand."

I was surprised because I thought she'd really want to do this project. However, each time we brought up working on the time capsule, her face contorted into deep, quivering sadness. Like me, her father, Bryce feels her emotions deeply, and once they become overbearing, she can't help but to break down and cry. And that's exactly what she did.

"So, Bryce, you don't want to do this project now?"

"No," she'd squeak out between tears.

"Dad, can't you see she doesn't want to do it," her older sister Beatrice said. Bea is definitely her sister's defender these days.

"Okay, okay."

Both her mom and I sympathized with her. When I came back from working out this weekend, I stopped and tore off a piece of yellow caution tape from a fenced off building that included the word CAUTION on it. I did this because I had a new idea myself: what if we put things in the time capsule box that she never wanted to see again? Like a negative time capsule to be buried cathartically and never be seen again. I thought that maybe she might like this idea.

But when I shared it with Bryce, she shook her head.

"No, I'd rather do it the easier way," she said. "The first way."

"Oh, okay, so you do want to finish the time capsule now?"

Again, her face contorted slightly. "No, no I don't want to do it at all."

"Okay, then we'll ask your teacher for another project for you."

"Okay," Bryce said.

And so we're not going to make her do the time capsule project. We'll work with her teacher to figure out another project for Bryce. The dramatic changes to our children's lives have been enough bad history to fill a lifetime in their minds anyway, so there's no point for Bryce saving them for another day to relive again and again. She may not be to articulate this now, but that's going to happen with these memories whether we put things in a box or not. Until this bad history is behind us all, we just want Bryce and Beatrice to grieve for what's been lost and unearth as much goodness as they can from life each and every day.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

No Shoes, No Shirts, No Problem

After nearly two months of cooking and eating at home because of coronavirus (COVID-19) shelter-in-place orders, we finally succumbed to eating out. Not literally going out of course, at least not in California, which is still pretty locked down. Instead, we ordered something yummy for home delivery. Oh, how we've missed it.

My wife Amy and I first wanted our favorite taqueria not too far from where we live, but even though the open sign has been lit every time we drive past it, and we see people inside, we called and called to ask how their food was currently being prepared and packaged, and how they were managing their salsa bar, which is critical for the food we used to order from there. And how we can order and pick up the food, something we were willing to do. But alas, they never answered their phone.

The next choice for our two daughters was pizza. And not just any pizza either -- Pizza My Heart -- a local pizza place founded in Capitola, CA. There's a lot of yummy pizza locally, but our girls have always loved Pizza My Heart, especially going to get a big slice of cheese for Bryce, pepperoni for Beatrice, combo for me and pesto for Amy. We used to go together sometimes and meet friends, which feels like decades ago now.

Also, when Amy would teach a Kidpower workshop on Saturdays, it was my turn to go to Trader Joe's for the grocery shopping. When the girls would complain about having to go to the store with me, then I'd bribe them with pizza slices from Pizza My Heart, and they'd cheer "Yay!" Although I always wanted to go to the store first and then to pizza, they would ride me until caved into going to pizza first. I'm such a softy.

For now, those days are long gone. So, why did it take us so long for us to get to the point of ordering out again? Like many people, we were freaked out early on about coronavirus. We stocked up on groceries and couldn't imagine ordering any food prepared by others for fear of getting the virus.

Locally we've bought art supplies for the girls from Lenz Arts and books and gift cards from our favorite local bookstore Bookshop Santa Cruz, with the latest gift card purchased at a great online music event featuring local musical artist Keith Greeninger and sponsored by Ride Out The Wave (a site dedicated to supporting local businesses by encouraging people to by gift cards).

However, supporting local eateries was a health care conundrum for us. Even buying restaurant gift cards was a tough choice because we weren't sure if and when we'd be able to use them. Instead, buying groceries and eating at home, all the time, was what we did.

We haven't made these decisions lightly; local businesses continued to be decimated, especially restaurants and bars, and too many people have lost their jobs. Our favorite old watering hole and pub restaurant 99 Bottles closed back in March. While the sudden economic impact of coronavirus hasn’t been immediate for the nonprofit research firm I run, now headquartered in Santa Cruz with remote employees all over the world, we’re only six months from shuttering if the economic devastation continues.

This means the ripple effect for all of us continues to be more tsunami than little waves over time. Now over 30 million people are unemployed in the US, many of whom won’t be able to work until the economy fully opens again, and many more still who won’t have a business or job to go back to even when it does. Even those small businesses that have applied for the SBA Disaster Assistance, which we have, if received may extend the safety runways a bit.

However, the total number of reported coronavirus infected and the overall death rate is still most likely unknown and underreported. Just over a week ago it got personal for us, as Amy had to be tested. Thankfully she was negative.

This existential conundrum of saving lives versus saving livelihoods continues to widen our already great cultural and socioeconomic divide. It’s completely overwhelming to think of all the lives lost and the businesses big and small across industries laying off a few people to a few hundred thousand. I understand all the frustration and anger; so many of us are breaking under the weight of today. We need to continue to be kind to each other and help where we can.

Which now means eating out at home sometimes and supporting local restaurants and all the employees who continue to make the yummy magic and deliver it. We've recently read many experts have stated that there is no evidence that food is a carrier of the coronavirus, there is currently no reason to avoid any foods. Just take the food out of it's containers when you get it home or it's delivered home and dispose of the containers properly (recycle when you can!), then wash your hands well before you eat. Easy peasy.

We love cooking at home, and are practicing all the social distancing and wearing masks and more, but now we want some local restaurant food once and awhile. For as long as we can afford to do that at least. And because we can afford to do that, and haven't had a date night in nearly two months, we continue to donate a date night each month to the food banks for those families who need food assistance now.

So, be safe and order in. Open signs are lit up and waiting for your call. No shoes, no shirts, no problem. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Iceberg Underneath

"...The world weighs on my shoulders
But what am I to do?
You sometimes drive me crazy
But I worry about you
I know it makes no difference
To what you're going through
But I see the tip of the iceberg
And I worry about you..."

–Rush, Distant Early Warning


Like a big sigh of relief, we ended the week riding the rogue waves.

Five days earlier, my wife Amy didn't feel well. She had chest pain. It burned slightly like labored breathing after exercising. She was also more tired than usual and she had body aches. No fever and no other symptoms, though. Although she did smell weird smells that no one else smelled.

She worried; I worried. She never feels like that, and considering we're in the middle of a global coronavirus pandemic, she knew it was best to contact our doctor. So she scheduled a video call for the next day.

Our collective worry began to build at this point. COVID-19 is a virus that seems to affect different populations with symptomatic variance. The common symptoms are fever, tiredness and dry cough. But then there are aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and/or diarrhea. Then there are those who are asymptomatic and who could carry the virus for weeks.

Her doctor went through a checklist and decided Amy should go to the drive-thru testing center. The next day she did just that. It only took minutes, but was very uncomfortable. A long swab was stuck up one of her nostrils and then moved around to get as much gunk as possible. Then another swab in the back of her throat. After that, they told her they'd have the results in 24-48 hours.

Then we waited and lived our next day as any day prior to that: home schooling, working, isolating, exercising, loving and supporting each other, eating and drinking (probably one too many of those), and driving each other a little bit crazy in between. I went to the store for our family and that's an existential adventure in and of itself, although Trader Joe's has today's new shopping experience very well managed.

Amy and I again worried about what to do if one or both of us got sick and what would have to with our daughters in a worst-case scenario. Our doctor had asked Amy could we self-isolate if need be, and we could, but not optimally. Add to that all the loss and economic uncertainty and the tip of the iceberg begins to look pretty good. Right now all we can do is live day to day in the newest normal and plan for multiple scenarios of what may or may not happen.

Governments, medical professionals and epidemiologists aside, who the hell plans for a pandemic? Some of us have living wills and designated family or friends who could take care of the children if something untimely happens, but we never think about a global health care crisis. Like ever. The seasonal flu, yes, but not death by flu, at least not at our ages. That added layers of stress thinking about what if and all the scenarios with coronavirus is the iceberg underneath.

On Thursday afternoon Amy got the note from her doctor that the test was negative. Amen, although it didn't help that some friends and family reminded her that coronavirus tests have roughly a 70% accuracy rate, with about 30% of the tests producing a false-negative result.

But we're going with negative, and there was no better positive news than that. However, the weight and gravity of the unknown is always right there under the surface, absent of any warmth, and yet it burns at the touch. And both our girls felt its weight and cold fire as well, especially after us talking about what was going on and what may or may not happen. That night we all had a big family breakdown with a mixture of bittersweet relief, fear and tears.

That emotional sigh of relief carried us into a warm Friday afternoon to the beach, face masks on and boogie boards in hand, and we rode those rogue waves that buoy the icebergs in the distance.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Healing Hope We Can Give

The white woman kept shouting at us all as we walked by. I heard her before I saw her, although it seemed like most people in the local Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march ignored her. We were there with our family -- me, my wife and our two girls. We'd taken our family to local peaceful marches like this before, wanting our girls to become good global citizens and activists of inclusion, fairness and critical thinking.

Last year's march for us evoked hope and embodied peace and love for all peoples and races, not anger and hate, and it denounced bullying, harassment and assault wherever and however it appears. But this year's march felt different, much more somber than previous ones. There were pockets of celebratory joy and healing hope, but overall it was much more subdued, awkward even. And the white woman kept shouting at us all as walked by.

"This march isn't for you! You are not black! You have no idea what they've gone through! This isn't for you! Stop pretending it's for you!"

Again, most people ignored her as we walked past. We finished the march and I just wanted to get out of there, further triggered by my involvement last year in taking on workplace bullying in local politics. But she was right about one thing -- even those most enlightened, empathic and privileged of us don't know what brown and black people have gone through in our country, never experiencing institutionalized discrimination like they have for hundreds of years. Yes, it was an awkward march for me, made more so by the fact that my family was on the front page of our newspaper.

Less than three months later, our world has been swallowed up by a pandemic (COVID-19) and the combined levels of human loss and economic loss are beyond overwhelming. Government assistance has failed many small businesses and the self-employed. Add in the loss of personal freedoms and liberties due to distancing and shelter-in-place orders and it's no wonder that anger, frustration even depression are on the rise. Domestic and sexual violence are are the rise too, a dangerous byproduct of the lockdown, where people in violent home situations have no where to go.

Combine the macro with the micro and everyday decisions we used to make become mind-bending existential threats -- We have to go to the grocery store, so when do we go? Will the shelves be stocked with what we need? And if they have what we need, we'll still have to wear a mask inside, and when we get home wipe and/or wash down everything we bought, and then even change our clothes if we carried things against our bodies.

Repeat that process with every essential errand that needs to be ran. I wasn't sure what to call it until I read that we're all suffering from moral fatigue, where the everyday things we did in the old days are now daunting and emotionally and physically depleting.

In our latest weekly family meeting, which are more important now than ever, we always share what we've noticed about each other, how appreciate each other and what we're grateful for. Our youngest Bryce said, "I'm so grateful we're wealthy." Both her mother and I looked at each other, and then responded, "No, we're not really."

"Well, I'm grateful we can go to the store and get food," she added.

Both our girls have an understanding of what's happening in the world, and the fact that Bryce equated our ability to go to the store when we need to with being wealthy really wasn't a surprise. The fact is while our financial runway may be longer than some, it still ends on the edge of a cliff like most folks. We've all already lost so many other things. Which is why we recommended donating date nights to help feed hungry families.

Coronavirus hasn't discriminated over who gets sick and dies, and how quickly it can spread, but it certainly has exposed all our glaring socioeconomic and cultural differences and inequalities. The anger and frustration has led to protests that are understandable; it's an existential conundrum over whether we continue to destroy our very fragile economic livelihoods, or not, because of this deadly virus. A deadly virus that we have no idea how many are infected until testing improves, and will spike again until a vaccine is developed that still could be 12-18 months away.

But this moral fatigue and viral frustration has also exposed irrational thinking and unlocked a growing backlash of comparative personal suffering. The latest protests claiming government overreach with shelter-in-place has had their plight equated to that of African Americans and the civil rights movement. I get the existential conundrum, but I don't get the comparison.

I urge us all to be careful of comparing incomparable historical suffering to current personal suffering. Fact is, we're all suffering today; we've never had to experience so much disruptive change so fast in the modern day. We should be empathic to each other and help each other as much as we can. And at the very least, if this means sacrificing some of our personal freedoms for the health and safety of others -- our friends and families and communities -- then this is the healing hope we can give to everyone, regardless of race, and because of it.