People who refuse to wear masks during the covid pandemic are unwitting, ignorant victims. That may be a tough pill to swallow, but hear me out.

Power struggles with teenagers

Sofi, 16, was in a major power struggle with her strict parents about her schoolwork. She told me it was in large part due to her Indian parents being overly invested in straight A’s and an Ivy League college. Sofi felt micromanaged and overpowered, which was particularly hard for this strong-minded teen. Her response was to try to gain control, which her case meant procrastinating on her homework and “forgetting” to turn her work in. Her grades were hovering in the C-D range, which infuriated her parents. Here is the kicker. 

How resistant teenagers are giving their power away

Despite a very short-term feeling of power and control that she got from the power struggle, in the bigger picture Sofi was giving her power away. She had proved that her parents couldn’t make her and that she was in charge of her life. She even proudly told me that, “She had shown them!” But doing poorly in school to show her parents they couldn’t make her meant that it was still all about her parents. It was not in her best interest to get C’s and D’s as she had a few colleges she was interested in that required a high GPA for admittance. I helped her see that by still making her academic effort about her parents, she was in essence giving her power to them. I encouraged her to get clear within herself what kind of grades she wanted and to do it for her own reasons. And if she got A’s and her parents were pleased, that’s okay. Sofi was not doing it for them anymore.

Adults refusing to wear masks during the covid pandemic are giving their power away

This same logic applies to adults who refuse to wear masks to show the government and other citizens that you can’t make them. They are not making the decision about masks based on careful research and science and what might be in their best interest. As resistors shake their fist at the powers that be, they will get an initial feeling of power as they shout, “You can’t make me!” But just like Sofi, they are giving their power away and becoming victims of their ignorance. 

Wearing a mask shows compassion and love of neighbor

Having said all this, I do believe it is important that we all consider other people’s needs when it comes to the virus. The masks protect others as much or more than us. Wearing a mask for this reason is based on empathy, compassion, and love of neighbor. I encourage everyone to drop the power struggle about wearing a mask and act in the best interests of their own health and the health of us all. 

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