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Another top 10 list for our times — this one nontrivial

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You are probably familiar with those top 10 lists from late-night TV shows, you know, the ones that give us a little comic relief at the end of the day and some essential therapeutic belly laughs.

Top 10 lists are all around us. They are popular because they are easy to read, easy to write and they pack much information into limited space. Sometimes they are lighthearted; other times they deal with more serious subjects that need to be communicated easily.

Below is yet another top 10 list, this one appropriate for our time when we are faced with bringing about changes in our behavior, our thinking and our priorities as the result of the COVID-19 crisis. Although we are called upon to practice “social distancing,” we can use the following list of ideas to keep us in touch with the emotional and spiritual needs of the people in our community.

This list falls into the nontrivial category and is no laughing matter.

• 10. Calmness: Staying calm in a time of crisis might be difficult, but it is essential that we keep our wits about us and gather accurate information and react to it without panic.

• 9. Patience: Crises do not resolve themselves overnight. We must hang in there and do whatever it takes to endure, trusting in the experts to adopt the best practices for the largest number of people.

• 8. Vigilance: We must educate ourselves, discern what is accurate information and what is not, monitor our health and behavior and see to the needs of those most vulnerable.

• 7. Kindness: We have to be kind to everyone these days, to lift people up and not tear them down. Treating others the way we want to be treated must be universal. This one is not optional.

• 6. Thanksgiving: Always, always be thankful for those in the medical profession who work tirelessly for the good of others; always be thankful for those who have to make tough decisions for the common good; always be thankful for those who do not have the luxury of staying away from their jobs while so many of us can stay at home; always be thankful for those who continue to provide food, medication, safety, spiritual support and other essential supplies and services to the general population.

• 5. Responsibility: We need to be responsible for our actions and our communication so that we do not cause division or harm to any individual or group.

• 4. Selflessness: We need to turn from childish selfishness and think of the needs of others who need help with their lives.

(The top three are straight from I Corinthians 13 and are intertwined with each other.)

• 3. Faith: We need to believe in things larger than ourselves. Faith nourishes our heart and soul, and it is just as important as the air we breathe.

• 2. Hope: We must believe that times will be better, that the difficult situation at hand will improve, that we will learn from the crisis that we are experiencing and that we will eventually make sweeping improvements in our society as the result of what we have learned.

• 1. Love: Love is the greatest of all the above; love never fails; love endures and conquers more for our world than any other idea. Love should be an element of the first nine ideas on this list and should be an element of every action and decision that we make. As the song goes, love is what the world needs now.

This top 10 list for our time is really a list for all time. After the COVID-19 crisis has subsided, why don’t we continue to practice 1-10 into the future for those who risked their lives, for those who lost their lives and for those whose lives were spared?

Maybe we can together make the world a better place.

Sanda Baucom Hight is retired from Wilson County Schools after serving as an English teacher and is currently a substitute in Wilson County. Her column focuses on charms and ideas for a fuller life. Email her at