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I am no good at making masks, so how can I pitch in during the pandemic?

My son Jacob, an artist, is a member of Idea Fab Labs-Santa Cruz, a “member-driven creation zone.” With a laser cutter he had used for art projects, he cut out material for 5000 face masks. And, he and other artists at the collaborative, are using 3-D printers to produce plastic face shields. This sort of altruistic response to the needs of first responders and health care workers has been repeated countless times throughout the country, and I am sure in other nations. Those who can, do.

But, I wondered, what could I contribute? Donating to food banks and other causes, certainly. Is there something more I could do, as part of the human community that might make a difference?

As I was considering these questions, Peter Nicholson proposed a book about managing differences in families who are under incredible stress as their lives have been turned upside down as a result of the coronavirus. And, in that instant, the desire to be helpful and the means to do so came together.

And, it turns out, I wasn’t the only family practitioner with a similar desire. Within 2 weeks, Peter and I had recruited more than 70 experts to contribute their advice and tips as part of a book, Living Together, Separating, Divorcing: Surviving During a Pandemic. In the end, to produce this book required the selfless efforts of over 80 people—authors, designers, editors, illustrators.

We directed our advice to three family situations:

  • living together, trying to manage parenting, working from home, home schooling and unsettled finances;
  • living together, and managing the same challenges, but one or both of the couple have decided to separate and end the relationship; and
  • separated or divorced and grappling with new methods for co-parenting and dealing with changes in their economic situation for one or both.

In the outstanding collection of essays, there are tips for managing disagreements, guidelines for handling children’s needs, information about finances, and even a recipe for Quarantine Cookies.

Everyone involved has participated generously, invested their time and creativity to produce a book that we all hope will make a difference.

As editor, along with my fellow contributors, owe a huge debt to the efforts of Peter Nicholson and employees at his company, OGX. As volunteers, they designed and produced the book, developed the companion website and created promotional material. 

                        author

Michael Lang

For over 40 years Michael has mediated family, workplace and organizational disputes. He has designed and presented introductory and advanced mediation and conflict management courses, workshops and webinars in the US and internationally. Michael created one of the first graduate programs in conflict resolution in the US at Antioch University… MORE >

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