From our latest issue: What to do when you’re home alone

By Joan Janzen

A friend was sharing a memory about a neighbourhood teen who had a learning disability. The young fellow loved to pedal his bike over to my friend’s farm and visit. His visit would always be lengthy, so lengthy that his mother would finally drive to the farm, pick him up and take him back home.

One day the teen pedalled his bike over to the farm for visit. When he arrived he said to his neighbour, “I’ll be able to stay as long as I want today!” He emptied his pockets, which were filled with all the keys from every vehicle his family owned.

We are created to be social beings, so the current social isolation can pose challenges, one of which is idleness. Idleness can be exhausting, and can cause you to lose motivation and general enjoyment of daily life. It’s both healthy and helpful to spend our time working on projects, phoning friends and family to see how they’re doing, or helping others out when needed. Those activities make life enjoyable. Of course, if you have children in your home, idleness is not an issue, because children require lots of attention, and excel at messing up a house in a short time.

Farmers who are in the middle of calving season also don’t have a problem keeping busy. If social distancing includes cows – well, that could pose a problem. Saskatchewan’s own Quick Dick McDick is also in the middle of calving season.

I’ve mentioned him and his humorous videos in a previous column. According to his recent post, Quick will be making video segments appropriate for children called ‘Little Quicks’ for all those little agricultural technicians in training – just fun for kids to watch. No swearing, no politics, no adult references and nothing about what’s going on in this crazy world right now.

He’s using this time to encourage children to have fun in the middle of the craziness, and as adults, we should follow his example. According to neuroscience, our brain uses the same pathway for fear as it does for courage. Often it is our choices that determine whether we’re using that pathway for fearfulness or courage, and those choices influence our children, family, friends and even strangers.

While we’re all “home alone”, practicing social distancing, I’ll remind you of an iconic quote by the kid Kevin in the “Home Alone” movies: “I’m eating junk food and watching rubbish, you better come out and stop me!”

As a Canadian, I can’t stop rubbish, such as Saudi Arabia doubling production as oil prices crash, but I can always afford to offer kind words and gestures. An old proverb says, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Kindness and caring are far more contagious than any virus. How many people have you infected with kindness today?

You can contact Joan at

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