The year 2020 will definitely go down as a year filled with unimaginably bad news besides the suffering and deaths from the pandemic of Covid-19, people that owned businesses lost them, children that wanted to go to school had to stay at home, all free time activities and social events were cancelled, everyone was told not to travel, not to see their loved ones, except in the confines of your own home.
Almost all communication was done through a screen. It was a period in life that was nothing like anything else we had ever experienced before and all of this was done to protect the very weak and elderly, the vulnerable ones, but it was confusing that nobody seemed to take a real serious look at who were vulnerable in terms other than their biology.
In the beginning of the pandemic, The Happiness Company AS, along with many other companies, had to cancel all their camps and plans for any activities where groups of people would be in close proximity. For the Happiness Company it meant no annual Happy Camp, no happiness activism in the streets and we weren’t even given a projection of how long this was going to last, so we couldn’t do any realistic planning for the future. We were left to our homes and our imaginations.
Conversations were held regarding the impact this would have on our mental health, and especially those that were already suffering, but there were few to no remedies to address this problem. We thought about our clients and did what we could to continue with those were it was allowed to have one-on-one contact and the others were relegated to zoom-type conferencing. We were mostly stifled and frustrated, because we couldn’t help children socialize and have activities that stimulated their creativity.
The news was filled with stories regarding domestic violence and helplines services could hardly answer the overwhelming cries for help with everything from hyperactivity and concentration problems, school dropouts to increased suicides. We were left feeling an immense pain for all this suffering and knew something had to be done about it.
So, what did we do?
Our company has the philosophy that happiness is all about communication, mindset and action, so we knew we had to somehow communicate our knowledge and ideas. We knew we had to help people shift their mindset that also could get people to do something for themselves. So, we came up with a story, an interactive story with instructions, assignments and ideas for parents. We figured why not make the best out of this solitary situation and write a book about this situation that would send good message to families, and, oh boy, did people need some good news!
As we sat down to begin our creative process, we thought to ourselves: “how is this affecting children”? How are they feeling and what is their perception of the virus.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t much information regarding how it is affecting children because even though we know children are our most valuable natural resource, we were overwhelmed with other pandemic issues that took president over the special needs of the children.
There was little information about how you talk to your children about the pandemic. As everyone knows, communication is the basis for solving all problems and children were being left out of this conversation. We knew that to take care of the children properly, there should be source books or a television shows that are specifically made to help children deal with this situation.
This brought about the creations of “Lisa and the Covid Monster”. It was created to be more than just being a story book for children, but a tool for adults who needed resources to deal with all the side effects of the pandemic and how it was affecting the fears and misconceptions about the pandemic. We wanted to educate the public on its importance and make it a major priority for families.
As we wrote the book, the negative and fearful news stories just got bigger and severe. Even a country as small as Norway had literally hundreds of psychologists and other professionals sent a collective public letter to the government registering their alarm in the rapid increase of mental health issues that were seen in children. This screaming message was landing on deaf ears, nothing changed. The Happiness Company knew it had discovered something valuable and necessary.
“Lisa and Covid Monster” is a typical scenario of how many children were feeling from the messages that they heard and were left to their own imagination of how this information was affecting them. We created a user-friendly story that shared what is known to be helpful related to any diseases, such as sunlight, exercise, spending time outside, vitamins, and doing things that make you happy all of which actually supports your immune system.
Children would learn these principals through communication with their families and it would give them a sense of hope and security. Fearful messages cause all of us, and especially children, to withdraw from life and feel that we were basically victims of an unsolvable problem. That feeling isn’t the truth. People that are taking an active approach to better health have a better chance of dealing with whatever comes their way.
This is the thinking and process of how “Lisa and Covid Monster” was created. We know that storytelling has always been an effective vehicle to communicate with our children and in that spirit we wish you the best.
We would enjoy and encourage you to communicate with use about the wins that you and your children got from our little glimpse of Lisa and her family.