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It's now over a year ago that masks were introduced in my country as a mandatory requirement in all public spaces. This means that for one year it's been a requirement for us to walk around without the ability to see each other.
Yesterday I was at a grocery store and I looked around me - it was the first time I haven't been in a total rush to get from A to B in a long time. There is a sadness behind the masks that I haven't seen before. A sadness that is visible in people's eyes, I truly would hate to see the state of facial expression if the eyes are telling such a devastating story.
There is a hollow in people's eyes which has replaced the bright spark. The laughter between strangers happens increasingly less. Interactions are dwindling - rapidly.
The image is of children sitting on a floor at school in blocks drawn around them on the ground - keeping them separate from their friends. In terms of sadness and abnormality, it is horrendous. This article is also old - I drove passed a school the other day and I saw that this is still happening.
Will children ask for the help they need? People are being shunned for mental health disorders more than ever because the pandemic hasn't allowed places to operate. The places I'm talking about are anxiety support groups, depression support groups, PTSD support groups.
Not only are places not offering help as much as they used to - but people are caring less and less about each other. Everyone is fighting their own battles at the moment (unless you are a billionaire), this pandemic has destroyed at least one part of your life that you love. Whether you have a lost a loved one, gotten divorced, lost your house, your job, your car - your normality is not there anymore. The longer this continues the more bitter people become, the more they turn into distant people who are in a fight for their life, not collective life.
"Around 12 months of age, the child takes part in interactive play like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. He uses gestures to wave bye-bye and communicate his interests and needs. At around 15 months of age empathy and self- conscious emotions emerge. A child will react by looking upset when he sees someone cry or feel pride when applauded for doing a task."
Let's truly review that - a 15 month old child - will react by looking upset when he sees someone cry. Crying is obvious, even with a mask on. What about the happiness though? The quiet smile which brightens someone's day? The laughter is clear - you can hear it. What about a snigger? What about the devious bad look from someone who is either judging you or has bad intentions? Children aren't going to know these things, it will not be ingrained in their development and they are going to suffer long term.
What is going to happen in 5 years time when we have a society of children who have no ability to play with each other because they have been isolated in square blocks? What about when the time comes for these young humans to interact again? Have we replaced love and humanity with fear and lack of empathy? It is too soon to say if we have, however in terms of progression of life and early childhood development, I believe we have.
Our children are no longer allowed to play - a year later. Children are no longer able to be children. A year later, Mums and Dads are not able to mingle and laugh while their children grow into strong, healthy little people.
As citizens right now the only thing we can do is to acknowledge it and try to help. Go through our days and try to take notice and to care. Try to be there for those strangers. Use what we have in order to help.
When all this is over - we all need to begin to rebuild humanity. We need to strengthen the bonds that have been lost between random strangers who are now merely existing, rather than living.
Above image (and lead image) by Pixabay user: Drumband5