Who’s Behind the Mask- Generational rules

When we think about it, every generation grows up with different rules. Cultures and environments evolve, and we need to keep up with changing times. When we were children, we ran free till dusk. We lay in the grass and watched stars cross our sights until they crumbled to dawn. We bounced in our parents’ laps and pretended to drive the car while sitting in the front seat (no seatbelts, might I add!) What glorious days those were.

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While I call those my glory days, would I trade the times I live in now for those carefree yet risky ways? Not at all. I adore the rules that keep children safe. I enjoy the sense of routine that discipline brings. However, practices that came with a planet-wide lockdown were a bit much for even the most easygoing person to digest. 

And just like that, the generational rules have altered. This time, it isn’t the run-of-the-mill change in physical safety norms but the whole shebang. The entire game of how we live has changed the rules, spit out dice that roll the punches, and there’s no determinant to who wins or loses. This is the reality that our children will have to learn to live with.

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When the pandemic rules began to cement into place, one of the biggest challenges was ensuring that every human being remains masked for the greater good. Unfortunately, there is an ongoing debate on mask mandates as we speak, and it saddens me to hear that an essential barrier that saves lives is being discarded in the pretense of returning to normalcy. My personal and unwavering opinion is that every child should accept and normalize wearing a mask until all signs of this pandemic are wiped away from existence.

In the halls of my school, I see that small children still struggle to keep on their masks. For that matter, so do most adults! It’s a hard thing to adjust to a confining material that may restrict your breathing and comfort. However, the knowledge that I must teach third-graders the next day prevents me from removing it unless absolutely necessary.

As educators often struggle to make young students comfortable with wearing a mask for extended periods during the day, I came across a book that may help. 

‘Who’s Behind the Mask?’ by Lisa Konkol

‘Who’s Behind the Mask?’ by Lisa Konkol is an invigorating change in the children’s library section. A quintessential peek-a-boo book, the title gives away the content. It depicts people from all walks of life wearing masks of different shapes and colours. It gently hits home on why masks are donned and that they’re nothing to be afraid of. ‘Who’s Behind the Mask?’ serves as a gentle and fun read for pre-primary students who are just getting used to entering public spaces with masks in a post-pandemic world.

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I can imagine a classroom of young ones, rapt with attention, guessing the people’s professions by their masks. I can envision them giggling at the ending and then inspecting each other’s masks. I anticipate this book being a great starting point of conversation for many essential rules related to covid.

As educators, we need to open the platform for discussions like these for our youngest learners to reinforce safety norms and assuage their fears in the future.

I wholeheartedly advocate for more books like this to flood the market, as I predict mask-wearing and Covid safety precautions being the standard for years to come.

However, rather than shying away from reality and hoping for a safe past that will never become our future, we need to face challenges head-on and teach the next generation to do the same.

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