It has been more than 40 days that we are locked down at home due to COVID-19. One of my colleague from the French Positive Discipline association wrote the following article. I really enjoyed reading it, so I decided to translate and share it with you.

Thanks, Solenne and Matthieu who accepted and encouraged me to do so.

Preparing a new society for the future; OK, but which one?

While are going through the biggest health crisis of the century, and getting into a new social and economic crisis (of unknown extend so far), debates are starting in most places around the world.

We can make the collective choice to go back to the confrontations that we had in the latest months, fostering populism, or we can take this crisis as an opportunity to lay down the foundations of the society that we want from now on.

What do we learn from the current crisis? Nothing new, only things we had forgotten, remind us of Alfred Adler‘s work. Adler is an Austrian physician and psychotherapist from the 20-th century.

  • Mutual respect and dignity: we are getting through this crisis thanks to the people with jobs that were not appreciated enough in our society, such as caregivers, cashiers, truck drivers… they got some, well deserved, respect and dignity back that they should never have lost in the first place.
  • We are all the same: in front of the virus, we are all the same, rich or poor, Asian, European or African, woman or man. It reminds us that every day we are all living in the same world and we are all connected together, whatever our personal situation is.
  • We can all have positive impact on our society: by keeping the solidarity alive between us, by providing everyone with security and access to healthcare & food, each of us discovers his/her sense of belonging and feels important by contributing. By taking care of sick people, by ensuring the food chain keeps working – or just staying home – we do have an important role in fighting COVID-19.
  • We all have a role to play: staying home, which sounds very passive at first – and is not that simple, considering the duration of the lock-down and the poor housing conditions of a part of the society! –  is in fact something paramount in slowing down the virus transmission and does save lives!
  • We can all act by encouraging others: we get a sense of what it feels like when every evening,  the ones that are fighting for our health care are encouraged by our claps. These encouragements are motivating those who are in contact with the virus or the ones in charge of our essential services. Encouragement, rather than criticising, is what make the change happen.
  • Freedom comes with social responsibility: the lock-down reminds us that our own freedom also comes with responsibilities. Morally, we have to accept to limit our freedom when it puts others life at risk.

Lastly, another lesson that can be learnt from this crisis is that we do not choose our emotions, but we can decide what to do with them. We can leave the anger and fear drive our society and our lives or we can use the energy generated by these emotions to look for solutions instead of culprits.

Following Alfred Adler recommendations, we could make our “new” world a more inclusive society, more respectful of the people and the environment.

Solenne Roland-Riché, is a Positive Discpline trainer, author of “50 règles de l’éducation Positive” and “100 règles d’or du management positif“, she is also collaborating at “Sciences-Po Executive Education”.

Matthieu Riché is a corporate societal responsibility manager for a mass distribution company and executive director of  “Société en mouvement“.




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