Lots of things going on in our country today bother me.

Thanks to the coronavirus, it bothers me that my children missed out on the last three months of the school year. My daughter lost opportunities to perform in an annual choral competition, school choral concert, ballet spring production and dance school recital and go to prom. My son missed scout meetings, ceremoniously moving to Webelos 2, running in his school’s Boosterthon fundraiser, his school’s Fun Day and drum lessons.

It bothers me that high school seniors were denied the opportunity to have an actual graduation with social distancing guidelines in place. The U.S. Air Force Academy did it, with, I believe, the cadets sitting 8 feet apart. Regardless, hats off to area schools that presented the best commencements that they possibly could.

Yes, I realize that precautions needed to be taken. If anything, my family has made the most of this time, and I’ve become a little more frugal, a more adventurous cook and a little closer to loved ones.

It bothers me that the senseless act of four police officers in Minneapolis took the life of a black man, who pleaded to breathe while handcuffed on the ground. It bothers me that peaceful protests became rage-filled and violent. Officers and law enforcement animals, peaceful protesters and business owners trying to protect their properties suffered injuries.

It bothers me that my son, upon hearing about a protest in Pottsville (Sunday, May 31, 2020), urged me to stay safe while I worked. The event was anything but violent. Participants came, marched, chanted and left. All, take note, it was peaceful!

It bothers me that my children become frustrated because of the protests, pandemic and constant hatred on social media platforms, especially when opinions differ. As for protests, what happened to social distancing? Shoulder to shoulder does not equate to the CDC-recommended 6 feet! That bothers me too!

I can only hope that America wakes up through this so-far tumultuous year. The pandemic brought life to a screeching halt for many, and now crimes against humanity — particularly the African American community — are dividing our country even more. Let this challenge us to open our eyes, to be little kinder to our fellow men and women and, really, as the late Mahandas Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

We need to do it for ourselves and especially our children — our future.