Tuesday, September 21

Agnès Brossa: “The pandemic has not given rise to any lost generation”

Of course not. If a person has cancer and is sick for a year, can they not do anything else for the rest of their life? Is someone lost? Logically, no.

The pandemic is a catastrophe. There is nothing positive about it.

Nothing at all. In these months there are many people who have gone through it, and continue to go through it very badly. We have not wanted to deny that part, but to see the other.

Why did you want to see that light at the end of the tunnel?

Because perhaps anxiety, depression and anguish are more present in adults than in children and adolescents, who have had to give up many things, yes, but this can make them win in terms of resilience. Be stronger and more adaptable. It is hard to be home one day and another and another, but they have found their way to adapt and have done better than adults.

Accustomed to a lot of daily activity, the break has been tremendous.

Children tend to have hectic schedules because after school comes extracurricular activities. Why does a 5-year-old have to leave home at eight in the morning and arrive 12 hours later? In the consultation I always ask parents what time they put their children to bed. And they tell me early, around 9:30 pm or 10:00 pm. That is early? It would have to be, at the latest, at nine in the evening.

The root of the problem is the parents’ working hours.

Yes, but if a 7-year-old has a 12-hour workday, something is wrong.

Why is downtime, boredom so important?

Because it is the way for our thinking to get going. Today everything is guided in the activity of the children. When do they experience free play on their own? I mean putting together a construction or having fun with a doll or looking at your foot. It is important. They are bored and lie down. Where is the problem? They will look at the world from another perspective and it is important for their brain. From here the imagination and creativity come out. They get bored and start doing things. They start looking under the rug, but maybe later they imagine it’s a cave and put a stick and a doll inside. Tomorrow this will have helped them to be creative and look for solutions. It is a way to develop the brain.

In the book they include the case of a mother nurse who cannot help crying in front of her baby. Do we make a mistake if we disguise reality for our children?

Protecting children is not telling them that they live in a fairy tale, but explaining that there is also the negative. Death is part of life and should cease to be taboo. They have to understand that it is something sad and that it is overcome. But we live in a time when we think: “Oh, poor people, don’t suffer, don’t know.” It is worse. They sense that something bad is hiding from them and they become fearful children who imagine bad things. We cannot underestimate our children. That children have seen that sometimes life is hard is learning for them.

A mother who cries is not a weak mother.

Exactly. Our book aims to be a social critique of that upper middle class that educates its children in the worlds of Yupi. Most fathers and mothers don’t know how to say no to their children. Those children grow into teenagers who have it all. They are not very empathetic and think that nothing bad is going to happen to them in life. They are weak. If you are on the street and your son tells you that he is thirsty, do not go running to buy him a bottle of water. Tell him to wait two minutes to get home and drink.

Why are fathers and mothers like this?

We have more economic capacity and there are things that cost nothing. Does the child lose the lunch box? Nothing happens, we go to the bazaar and buy five to spare for when I lose it again. We do not teach to take care of things and value them.

In home confinement we did learn.

We think so, indeed. In the book we tell how a 5-year-old boy waited excitedly for his mother to leave home to do the shopping, one day a week, to bring him something as basic as a ruler to draw. He received her with great joy. A simple rule. That is much more important than knowing the life of the Catholic Monarchs by heart, which is on Google. The important thing is attitude, desire, perseverance, patience and strength.

All moms and dads have allowed their children to abuse screens. Anything positive about it?

Well yes because, in some cases, the roles have changed. There are shy children who, behind the computer, have taken much more force. And others who were more expansive and more leaders have been seen without so much self-confidence. They have come together a lot as a group.

The pandemic is getting very long. Vaccination does not take cruising speed. What do we do?

Now comes a very heavy part. At first we thought it would be a matter of three days. Not now. We have had to live this. There is no other. Let’s try to live each day as if it were a fantastic day and enjoy little things.


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