Making history: Me on the cover of SI Swimsuit!

Scott DeSmit

It is time to thank the children.

We thank and praise first responders and nurses and doctors and caretakers and even fast-food workers for being on the “front line” of the war against COVID.

We celebrate teachers and all they have done these past 20 months.

It is time to thank our children.

A week or so before this school year began I turned to my daughter, who was about to enter seventh grade.

“I’m sorry,” I said to Jenna. “You’re going to have to wear masks in schools.”

“So?” she said. “I did last year. It wasn’t a big deal.”

And on the first day of school we sat on the front porch waiting for the bus, her mask pulled down to her chin.

I watched as she trotted off the steps and up the driveway and pulled her mask over her nose and climb aboard the bus.

This stinks, I said to myself.

At least she is going to school.

All summer, whether it was going to the store or on a trip to Cooperstown, she dutifully wore her mask when required and even sometimes when it wasn’t.

I have never heard her complain. I have not heard any stories about classmates or friends who are complaining or protesting or causing scenes at school or on the bus.

Last week we went to watch my friend’s daughter, Aubreye, and her varsity volleyball team play in Kendall.

I groaned as we entered the building, pulling our masks over our noses before slipping through the door.

I do not like wearing a mask. I am claustrophobic and all I can remember is my evil older uncles sitting on my chest and putting their hands over my mouth when I was little and panicking because I couldn’t breathe.

No. If you’re thinking something felonious was going on, it wasn’t. I had asthma and was highly allergic to my grandmother’s cats and they were teenage boys with an evil streak. They also used to lock me in the closet.

I have never liked anything covering up my face.

We sat in the gym for 90 minutes or so and watched the game. Everyone in the stands wore masks. The coaches wore masks, as did the officials.

And so did the girls playing volleyball.

Volleyball is certainly not a sedentary sport.

The games were intense with non-stop action, enough to make me lose my breath just watching them.

Yet, there they were, all wearing masks in a steamy gym while their parents and friends, all wearing masks, watched.

Outside, in communities across the nation, parents are protesting mask mandates.

Parents are raucously and sometimes violently swarming school board meetings.

It is the parents screaming and flailing their arms and stomping their feet, whether it’s mask mandates or vaccine mandates.

Yet, we dutifully grab our children and haul them to the doctors to get the required vaccines for school.

Our list? DipTet, DTaP, Tdap, hep B, measles, mumps and rubella, polio, chickenpox, Tdap for 6-12, meningococcal for 7-12, boosters, HiB and PCV.

Other than those who have long been against vaccines, an extremely small number of people, do we question all those vaccines?

No.

Yet, here we are with sometimes homicidal rage attacking mask mandates.

Mandates aimed at keeping our children in school and with hopes of keeping them safe from a virus that is unquestionably harmful.

Think about this: If, say, polio was spreading viciously through our country, wouldn’t you want every form of protection from it, whether it was masks or a vaccine?

I would guess yes.

“But masks are harmful. They are dirty and don’t allow CO2 to escape! Our children can’t breathe! Freedom! First Amendment! Our choice!”

No. There is nothing nefarious about mask mandates. This isn’t a government conspiracy. This isn’t about taking away our freedom.

Yes, it is time to thank our children, thank them for putting up with us for the past 20 months.

Our children will get through this much better than we adults. Of that, I am certain.

We would like to say to all those raging parents at school board meetings and protesting on the street, “Stop acting like children!”

That would be insulting our children.

Instead, us adults should be acting like children.

The world would certainly be a better place.

(Scott DeSmit is a general assignment reporter for The Daily News. He can be reached at desmitmail@yahoo.com)

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