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  • Rodney Hide

Lockdown through the eyes of children


As I write, me and my family are under house arrest. We are allowed out only to exercise and then only nearby and only briefly. I have to explain to my six year old that he can’t slip under the hazard tape to the playground. Too dangerous.


He must keep 2 metres from the other kids out exercising. They could be infected.


One of us can make a trip to the supermarket. But we must sign in and mask up. We are advised to mask up whenever we go out.


It’s not just us detained. Our entire neighbourhood is likewise detained. Indeed, the entire country. Only essential workers can go out.


We are not too bad. We have each other. My mum is locked up on her own. She has no human contact other than on the phone. She says she’s doing okay but her neighbours have almost lost the will to live. They looked forward to visiting each other and family visits. They now don’t bother getting dressed, doing their hair, or even eating properly. My mum has to wait a week for her supermarket to deliver. She is on their priority list.


She is not allowed to hop in her car and go shopping. The retirement village won’t let her out.


The Prime Minister has been firm:


“Stay local, do not congregate. Don’t talk to your neighbours.”


She has told us to “call-out” rule breakers but kindly. We should tell our next door neighbours not to talk. I don’t know how we are to tell them. I still know semaphore.


I have explained to my six year old that he hasn’t done anything wrong. The Prime Minister is locking him up out of kindness. If he goes out, he could get sick and die. He could infect all of us. And Nana. And the entire school.


It’s the dreaded Delta. And it’s here.


I have explained to him the other boys in the street aren’t naughty. It’s just that he can’t play with them or talk to them. They could be unwitting hosts to the deadly Delta. They could be pathogenic.


He finds it scary.


My ten year old wants to know how many kids the Delta has killed. I say I am not sure but it seems not many. “So it’s not that dangerous?” “Well, it is. Especially to the old and sick like Nana. And you could give it to her.”


My daughter does not want to kill Nana.


“So why not lock Nana up? And let us play with the other kids?” “Well, that wouldn’t be fair on Nana.” “How so?” “Well, she would know you are out playing and she can’t go out.”


“But what if Nana wants to take the risk and go out? Or see people?” “Well, she might get sick and have to go to hospital and that would mean someone else misses out on a bed.” “So why let boys play rugby? They can end up in hospital.” “It’s not the same. This is the Delta. It’s much worse than rugby.”


“How do we know?” “Well, the government follows the science. The experts.”


“Do the experts all agree?” “No. But the ones advising government do.”


“So if they listened to other experts, we wouldn’t be locked up?” “No.”


“So how do they choose who to listen to?” “I don’t know.”


“Are they cleverer than us?” “No.”


“So what makes government special?” “One thing.” “What’s that?” “They have the power to lock us up -- whether we like it or not.”


“We can protest!” “Nope, not allowed. We would be arrested.”


“Well, why don’t the other experts explain to people what they think and why?” “They can’t.” “Why?” “Well, the media agree with the government. And they don’t want to compromise public health with contradictory messages.”


“So when do we get to run free?” “I don’t know. When the government says it’s safe.”


“But it’s safe for us kids now?” “Yup. But you can’t. ’Cos government says you can’t. And the police do what the government wants. And the media will write you up as the cause of why people must stay locked down.”


“Government sucks.” “Yup.”


Homeschooling works!

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