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13 Aug 2020

Humans of Kent: Sheldon Heinold, Operations Manager, USA

What are you thankful for?

It was a typical Wednesday. Typical for the new norm of working from home and not being able to go anywhere during a pandemic. Attempting to work on a report from my home office, the atmosphere seems to finally be calming!

My ten-year-old son coming in and out of the office asking for anything his mind could come up with. My seven-year-old daughter literally running through the house screaming for no reason. And my fifteen-year-old daughter yelling across the house about how life isn’t fair that she can’t go to the pool with her friend on this particular day. Like I said a typical Wednesday in the Heinold house.

Just as I thought I was about to really make some headway on my work, I couldn’t help but notice the ringing of a melody from a tiny little voice coming from the dining room. I could not make out the words so I got up from my desk and snuck into the kitchen only to find my five year old girl cleaning the table and singing, on repeat mind you, “What are you thankful for, what are you thankful for, what are you thankful for”.

I found out a few days later that it was a nursery rhyme from one of the children shows she watches. I stood there in that moment as my heart was melting with joy and anguish at the very same time. A flood of thoughts started racing through my mind. We had been in quarantine for nearly three months at this point and it made me reflect on all the little interruptions that I complain about every day. My complaints all became more and more insignificant as she was still singing the verse over and over while scrubbing the table.

I am passionate about mental health in the workplace and would like to think that I am a steward for others when it comes to the topic. Of course, right now this is a hot topic on mostly everyone’s mind; especially employers. Everyone is coming up with out of the box ideas to stay sane, hosting casual meetings through video conference technology, setting up video workout groups, all of which are all great and I enjoy joining them as well. However, in my moment of reflection, I realized that all the interruptions, screaming from across the house, constant walking in and out of my office, all these moments were what was truly keeping me sane through this unprecedented time. Just recently I made it into the office to get a project off the ground and I can’t lie that it was a breath of fresh air to dive into work without the interruption and correspond with colleagues in person, but I also miss the little interruptions and short breaks to talk to and interact with my children throughout the day.

The new normal will not be easy to accept because there is still so much that is unknown, and we will continually evolve to cope with the situations that we are in. Ever since that moment I have that sweet little melody playing on repeat in the back of my mind all day long, “What are you thankful for?”

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