Guest blog: a teenager's take on lockdown
As things continue to open up post-lockdown and concerns are expressed at the impact of the last year on our young people, Inspire asked Iona Walker (14), part of a Baptist church in Peterborough, to reflect on her experience …
“I think that lockdown has been a tough time for everyone, but as a teenager in lockdown the deadly virus has had a huge effect on my life.
“First of all, switching to online school literally overnight and being flooded with huge projects can be disheartening when you know you are completing work, but the list keeps getting longer and longer.
“I think I have always taken the classroom environment at school for granted, being able to ask questions and if I do not understand anything the ability of the teacher to adapt their teaching methods. Honestly, the feeling of being able to check off a schoolwork task is a great feeling.
“I think these lockdowns have had a huge impact on social skills for me and my friends, as well as our mental health. After effectively being locked up inside for however many months, I sometimes felt isolated and stuck in a loop of doing the same things over and over again, every day exactly like the one before.
“I also found that I lost the ability to hold a conversation – even just being around people again felt weird, but at the same time I was so grateful to be around my friends and other people that are not my family who I was with 24/7 for at least four months. Being around the same four people is nice at first but after a while there is nothing new to talk about and you begin to realise even more the things they do that annoy you!
I sometimes felt isolated and stuck in a loop
“Sometimes I think ‘wow, this is really happening – we are living in a global pandemic which will probably be talked about in history lessons to come’, it blows my mind sometimes.
“I personally hate Facetime and video chatting because it’s like there is a pressure to keep up the conversation. I would much rather arrange to meet someone and talk but obviously this was another thing I had to adjust to as online or over zoom was the only way to communicate with other people outside my house.
“As everything went online so did church and it’s hard to be able to cater for all members of the church at the same time, so I did not feel as engaged as usual – but luckily during the week I did have a zoom call with my youth in the church which has help me to continue growing my faith and have fun.
“I think it is such a great thing that the church has been able to reach out to a whole new audience through online services, and to continue supporting the members of the church even though we could not meet in person.
“In some ways I think this lockdown has been very beneficial for a lot of people in many different ways but it has also brought a lot of isolation, loneliness and loss for people.”
- How do you think the pandemic has changed the way churches connect with their communities? What should we be doing differently now? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org – maybe you’ll be our next guest blogger …