I feel like I can write a commercial for a sponsor of a TV show:

“Tonight’s supper table conversation was brought to you by COVID-19. The twists and turns of this virus’ disruptions to the economy can be chronicled, and will surely be reviewed for decades to come. Watch your family discussions come alive, all inspired by this pandemic!”

Our second son started working full time in September–for his father’s company (although not directly reporting to dear ol’ dad). Our oldest son is studying construction management, and has a keen interest in hearing about first-hand experiences.

Today, some clarity came out to explain the Paycheck Protection Program. Now, I imagine that most families’ dinner table topics probably do not include this discussion. This is the program which provides funds for small businesses to pay their employees, with some funds to also pay essential costs of doing business. If you follow all the rules–which are a bit open to interpretation, but being clarified more all the time–your loan is forgiven.

We spent at least fifteen minutes on this topic. There was uniform gratitude that the government is trying to do something. Because son number two works there, he knows the other employees personally–and he likes them all. He knows the very real consequences if they can’t pay their loans for their homes and their cars. Son number one is learning about business during his classes, and he, too, is acutely aware of the role small businesses play in our country.

The silver lining tonight was watching our sons see their father in a slightly different light. The menu included hamburger, potatoes, salad, mangos… and a newfound appreciation for the responsibilities of a small business owner.

Jill Stahl Tyler