Flatters Coping with Covid
Thank you for your email and concern regarding the current situation that we are all facing, no doubt we are all living in unprecedented times. For myself & family, there is only one person that we call upon to help us to stay safe, be at Peace & overcome this situation and that Person is Jesus Christ himself. All we do is call on HIM on a daily basis and HE is always there to receive us and help us, to protect us and guide us through this current situation that we are all facing, for HE is the Light that overcomes the darkness, in this World we are living in.
I pray that you and your entire family will be safe during this time and I ask the Lord to surround you & your entire family with HIS Love and that HIS Peace, which transcends all understanding will guard your Hearts and your minds In Christ Jesus.
I ask the Lord to also protect all of our "Flatters" Families & loved ones and to keep them safe from the current situation.
If I do have any jokes, I will definitely share it with all of you. Please take care and stay safe,
Kind regards, God bless
Noel & the Muller family
We have always been laughing & enjoying right through out, I am sure its the same with you .- Baratha Mendis
Contribution from Sandra Nunez (Joseph)
Here is something I wrote that may resonate with all of us who share such rich experiences from our childhood in the flats.
As a child I wondered why the rules of etiquette my grandmother taught me mattered so much to her. Was it only because she was concerned about “what people would say”? Was I off the hook if no one was watching? While in self-quarantine I realized that etiquette is not just the Emily Post preach but more about being kind, considerate and respectful to yourself and others, even when you are alone.
Attitude is a game changer. Mindful action rather than mindless reaction to situations may make — not break your day. If someone hurts you with a word or an action, remember it has nothing to do with you. They may be dealing with more loss than you can imagine, so act, don’t react. You are in control of your thoughts and actions. Reacting to negativity is losing control and perpetuating it. No Tit for tat, please. Don’t respond to rudeness with rudeness. Stop. Rethink the situation to make it work for you and move on. Take the high road, because as someone said, the low road is too crowded.
Bragging about your net worth, possessions, job, college, contacts, and achievements was and is beyond intolerable. So many who have lost so much will be struggling to survive and working to re- establish their lives. So learn to listen more and talk less. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Your value will be measured by your good manners and willingness to help those in need. Rather than boring everyone with details of your attributes, show – don’t tell how wonderful you are.
Civility – is the custom of treating others as you would like to be treated. It is essential now more than ever to show regard for others by being polite, kind, caring and considerate. We couldn’t survive the pandemic without so many people sacrificing their time and safety to help those in desperate need.
Courtesy is contagious. In big and small ways you can make life better for everyone. Although standard greetings like a firm handshake (a debatable tool to judge a person’s character) and the kiss, we could use the Indian Namaste greeting (hands joined and bow) or if that’s too exotic, the Japanese bow from the waist or a simple “nice to meet you” and hand wave could work too. Skip provocative and inquisitive topics at parties and get togethers if you want them to be fun. Stay away from politics, religion or comments about someone’s appearance. You get the message. It’s basically doing what is obviously the right thing to do to make life easier.
Dressing appropriately for the occasion is wise. Wear what makes you happy, but if you want to avoid unwelcome attention, leave your pandemic pajamas at home. Better to be under dressed (acting like you have more important things to think about) than overdressed, (looking like you are trying too hard.) Still unsure? Call your host.
Eating Etiquette – My grandmother said that table manners are what separates us from the animal kingdom and although all creatures eat, man only dines. She reminded us that we were not lined up at a trough but sitting at a table that someone had taken the trouble to set and serve food they took the time to prepare. So we should show appreciation and respect for this effort by practicing good table manners: Sit up straight, keep conversations pleasant (no crude or obviously insulting comments) place napkins on our laps, wait until everyone is seated before starting to eat, ask someone to pass the food rather than reaching across the table. Knife in the right hand, fork in the left and keeping elbows down so we didn’t look like we were spear fishing. Chew your food and try to join in the conversation after swallowing each bite (don’t talk with food in your mouth unless you want to gross everybody out or choke) Leave your smart phone behind and don’t forget to thank your host when everyone is finished.
Faking anything is ignorant. Admitting you don’t know something is not only smart but also a courteous way to credit your listener with more intelligence than he/she may appear to possess. Smart people know that it is impossible to know everything – and as my father told me – everyone you meet knows something you don’t know, so find something to learn from people you meet. Only rude people criticize or laugh at others to help them feel superior.
Gratitude is vital – going forward you want to thank any and everyone who selflessly help to keep you alive and well and continue to make your life bearable and/or better. Thank you in any form is always appreciated and appropriate, even if you don’t get the response you expect. Don’t show up empty handed if you are a house guest. If you can find the perfect gift for someone you know well – go for it. The pleasure of giving will be as thrilling as receiving.
Happy people are happier and more popular than unhappy ones. Happiness is a mindset to adopt even when you are fed up and feel like going back to bed to binge on video games or Netflix. Showing up with a smile could help your mood and possibly lift someone else’s spirits. What have you got to lose?
Imitation is the best form of flattery. Follow the ideas of people you admire, but taking credit for someone else’s creation is a no no. There’s a word for it – plagiarism- (like stealing) whether you are found out or not. Give credit where it is due and don’t be afraid to use your own unique creativity and imagination.
Judging someone by their appearance, speech and manners is a fact of life, so unless you prefer social isolation, it is impossible not to care about how you appear to others. You can’t please everyone all the time, but if you are mindful of meaningful social etiquette, you can be confident about being yourself in any situation. Although it may be true that you only have one chance to make a good impression, don’t be quick to judge others. Everyone, including you deserves a second chance. You may be surprised to discover something to admire or learn from someone who looks different from you.
Kindness always was and will continue to be the standard for social etiquette, especially after what we have all been through. We are all human and being human means we have our weaknesses and our strengths. Help someone who is struggling and don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Reach out to people who are grieving. Don’t pretend nothing happened. If you don’t know what to do, simply say you’re sorry. No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted.
Leave your worries on the doorstep. Share your thoughts and concerns with your close friends, family and therapist but be aware that everyone is dealing with their own problems and don’t have the time to listen to your complaints. Stay busy, stick to business and practice the art of listening with friends, classmates, acquaintances and business associates. It will distract you from your problems and may give you a new perspective on your life.
Mail. Although we had no I phones and computers growing up, my grandmother’s advice still applies. She warned me to think twice before putting something in writing because unlike the spoken word, it can’t be taken back. So take a time out before you write or respond to something mean, angry, crude or insulting
Names – Make an effort to remember them. Don’t misspell or mispronounce them no matter how foreign they may sound. You wouldn’t want your name to be to be butchered would you? And although it may be a more casual society we reenter, address someone by their title and last name unless they tell you to use their first name.
Obliging – In a world trying to recover from so much loss, being helpful, accommodating and kind will make life more pleasant. Being confrontational, uncooperative, disagreeable and unkind is unproductive, gets you nowhere and will make you unpopular and unhappy. So before you create an uncomfortable or unpleasant environment because something is bothering you and you feel you have to act out, take a time out , excuse yourself, leave the room and think of all the things you have to be thankful for. Then try to be obliging instead.
Politics – Everyone has an opinion about the political climate in the country and around the world. Participate politically by casting your vote rather than trying to shout down someone who doesn’t share your political views. If you want to work for change, volunteer to work for the candidate of your choice or run for office. Get well informed by reading and watching reliable news reports rather than relying on opinions you hear around you and sound bites you get on social network and tweets. This way you are better equipped to tell spin from truth and judge right from wrong.
Quality over quantity. One good friend is a lot more valuable than one million followers on Instagram.
Road Rules Buckle up and drive as if the life of everyone on the road is as precious as your own. No road rage. If someone is not following rules or acts aggressively, keep your distance and teach by example. Don’t slam doors and no feet on the dashboard. If you are a passenger don’t distract the driver under any circumstances and remember – the Driver controls the dashboard and the environment inside the car – that means the temperature, the music, noise level, eating and smoking. And definitely no backseat driving.
Social networking and Smart phone etiquette: Your smartphone was your lifeline during the pandemic but once it is under control – you have a real life to live – places to go people to see! Be mindful of what is going on around you, not only what is on your smart phone screen. Gaping at it while you are having a live conversation is rude and looking at your screen on the street is dangerous. Turn the sound down on your ringer, dinging email or videogame when you are around others. And remember – no one is interested in your personal conversations so keep your voice down or go into a private space to use your phone.
Tolerance. This is a tough one when you have to get along with people who think or act differently from the way you were taught to behave. Watch, listen and try to understand. The Dalai Lama said it best: “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they are not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” But, tolerance doesn’t mean you have to accept or follow something you don’t agree with.
Understanding is another biggie. First, give yourself all the understanding you need, so you know how to understand others. Become aware of other’s feelings by observing and listening to them -not judging them from what you’ve heard or by a first impression. Being an understanding person takes the patience and courage to appreciate what someone else feels. Consider learning to understand others as a strength, not as a weakness. Try to practice tolerance and forgiveness because nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t assume too much and show empathy before you judge. As someone once said “Listen to understand rather than to reply.”
Volunteer: Many celebrities and regular folks find time to help others. They all agree that volunteering to help those in need made them feel as good as or better than those they helped. Your help will be valuable no matter how small your contribution may seem. As Gandhi said “No one can help everyone but everyone can help someone. “The academy award winning actress Audrey Hepburn who helped needy children worldwide as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF said “As you grow older you realize you have two hands: one to help yourself and one to help others.”
Wedding etiquette is no longer rigid but always follows the guidelines in the invitation and don’t upstage the bride by wearing all white. Take videos and pictures unless told not to, but please do not assume it is ok to post pictures of the wedding. RSVP right away before you lose the reply card, by mail – not text, email, phone, or in person. Go to the wedding registry to find an appropriate gift. Do not skip the ceremony before the reception. And do not bring a guest unless it says so on the invitation.
Xenophobia is the opposite of all the socially acceptable ABC’s. Chauvinism (thinking and acting as if you are superior to the members of the opposite sex or people from a foreign place) racism, prejudice and discrimination are all intolerant beliefs expressed in displays of anger and hostility against someone of a different race. This pandemic has taught us that none of these beliefs are true. We are all members of the human race, vulnerable to the same dangers. Learning more about other cultures through social interaction, travel, reading and responsible media will teach us that these beliefs are untrue and unproductive in our goal to make not only our country but the whole world a better place.
Yelling and yodeling should be reserved for the stage, sports stadiums and mountains – never in closed spaces. You wouldn’t want to be yelled at so why yell at someone else? If someone yells, don’t yell back. Remind them you are not deaf and you are willing to listen to what they have to say if they speak in a softer voice.
Zeitgeist – or the “spirit of the times”. During hard times in history like World War II and the Great Depression people united to help those who lost their jobs, savings and people they loved. By being mindful of how we interact with each other, we could make kindness the zeitgeist of the post corona world.