With the sudden cancelation of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship tournament, hundreds of young players lost out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Players from around the world had been training for much of their young lives for that tournament and now the chance is gone. Many of the players will be too old to qualify when the next tournament is held. The same thing can be said for the canceled Mac’s Midget AAA World Invitational Tournament traditionally held in Calgary. Those players won’t be able to come back if they reach 18 years of age.
It’s not just high-level hockey tournaments that are being canceled. All kinds of events from spelling bees to dance recitals have been canceled in the last two years. These are age-specific gatherings and events. Once kids grow past them, they can’t go back and do them later, and the years are passing. Competitive and demonstrative events are crucial for the social development of our children and they can’t be substituted through Zoom meetings. Children learn essential skills from strategy, to team building to communication through interaction with their peers. They are losing those experiences right now and we can’t turn that clock back.
Education from kindergarten to post-secondary has been stunted and inconsistent for two years now due to government COVID-19 restrictions. Youth don’t know if they are coming or going. They are being trained to spend time with their peers through social media rather than in-person while their education lags behind due to remote learning requirements.
We are creating a fearful, introverted generation and it is going to take decades to undo the damage.
While two or three years may not substantially change those of us who already have decades of living under our belts, it is a large and critical portion of a person’s life when they are under eighteen. These young people are being imprinted with a broken worldview where we can’t see smiles in person due to masking and periodically are told not even to leave our homes. Forced-masking is creating an entire generation of children who consider it natural to comply with a government-imposed dressed code.
If there is any silver lining to be found in the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that children appear to be nearly unaffected by it. Oh I know, fear-mongering politicians and broadcasters scour the planet and highlight those incredibly rare cases where a child has been harmed by COVID-19, but the numbers clearly show kids have little to fear from the virus. The Alberta government touted the tragic death of a 14-year-old boy as evidence that COVID-19 kills the young, only to have to climb down when the Western Standard reported that they lied about it. In fact, the child died of brain cancer. COIVID-19 had nothing to do whatsoever with his death.
We should be comforting kids with facts, rather than terrorizing them with forced-masking and segregation over an infection that is statistically less likely to kill them than the commute to school or a bolt of lightning is.
Cost-benefit analysis has been terribly lacking with every COVID-19 restriction. The economic costs of pandemic lockdowns costs are staggering as well as the social cost through side-effects such as the opioid addiction epidemic. As waves of infection come and go, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine whether lockdowns have any significant impact on the spread of COVID-19 or not. Government leaders must start asking themselves whether the ends are justifying the means with pandemic restrictions.
When it comes to restricting the lives and development of our children, there should no longer be any discussion. The risk COVID-19 presents to them is almost non-exsistant, while the damage from social restrictions is exceptionally high.
We need to end all school closures. They damage kids and don’t reduce the spread of the COVID-19 anyway. The same applies to every other social event for kids, whether it’s school theatre productions or soccer games. Young minds will only get the chance to develop once and we are needlessly disrupting their development.
We need a return to sanity on all levels and for people of all ages. The path to that return has to begin with our youth because they are taking the brunt of the damage from the restrictions and we can’t buy that time back later.
We have been doing a lot of foolish things as a society in the last few years due to mass panic over COVID-19. Disrupting the development of our youth during their most vulnerable period of life has been the dumbest and most destructive action to date. We can’t start working to undo that damage soon enough.
Cory Morgan is Assistant Opinion & Broadcast Editor for the Western Standard