What lessons will the next generation learn from COVID-19? (Answer by John Ward)

John Ward

It's way too soon to start drawing conclusions about this event that is unprecedented in any of our lifetimes. Pretend you are able to have a conversation with yourself as you existed just a few months ago. The "then" you probably wouldn't believe some of the things the "now" you has to say. (Kind of like explaining to your kids what a typewriter eraser is or what it was like to live before cellphones and the internet.) I predict in just a few more months, things will look entirely different again.

But despite the changes in perspective and the immediate time distorting circumstances, railroads will still carry freight, coal will still be an important part of the world's economy, and people will go to work to contribute to society and support their families. We may work from home more (or not) and we may be better at not touching our faces so much (or not), but the fundamentals won't disappear. For now, patience is the virtue.

This week, the Washington Post published a lengthy story boldly predicting that "The handshake will return. It's too much a part of who we are." Yes, it will. And I look forward to moving about the country and shaking hands with people again while together we sort out what this whole experience means.