Never have I been more aware of the deluge of opinions and information as have been poured out on the internet in these past months. At risk of adding to the cacophony, I wanted to share some thoughts, hopefully a bit of a pep talk for myself and maybe you can find some encouragement here too. It’s about… *cringes* COVID schooling.
Emotions are running high as some refuse to send their kids to school if they have to wear a mask, others of us just want our kids to be able to go to school instead of these at-home, quasi-homeschooling Zoom-fests. People are choosing real homeschooling when they claimed they’d never, ever go that route. At least it’s a choice! So many are stuck without options, and nothing is really “best” for their family, let alone a decent option. It’s rough. And although we have only a one-foot-in-the-water, 1st-grade scenario going on here, I hope some of these thoughts land.
Instead of the fear and panic, the despair and throwing up our hands, what if we focused on the bright sides. Are there any? I know things are dire. But…what if we chose to believe (and communicate to our kids–they are absolutely picking up on all this!) that these COVID-era students can be resilient, flexible, stronger even.
For my son who is easily intimidated by social situations, he now has to navigate online communication as we are distance-learning once again. That’s a valuable skill in this day and age. Maybe I wouldn’t have picked now to learn it, but I’m choosing to look big-picture and believe it will serve him well down the road.
Sure, much of his assignments are now up to me to monitor, but here’s to hoping he learns to take ownership and be more independent (because let’s be real, his two younger brothers would absolutely destroy the house if they had the chance). Personal responsibility is a valuable lesson to begin learning so early on.
How do we make the best of it and exude positivity? I say all this in the spirit of camaraderie while also acknowledging the truly awful situations many are experiencing: the parents of special needs kids, teachers who can’t be flexible to choose the best for their kids because they’re busy meeting the needs of other families, families where the choice comes down to work to feed your kids or be around to help with online school.
Maybe “be positive”, is too trite. I think what I’m trying to get at is more along the lines of “be hopeful”. Hope is choosing to look ahead, believing something better is coming. It’s a shift in perspective from looking down at my shuffling feet to looking ahead at the light at the end of the tunnel. Like the words of Johnnyswim’s song, “Still Wonderful“:
“Hurt and hope, watch as I carry both//Not exactly as we planned, I know, but it’s still good.”
There can be really hard things about the current state of the world, the chaos surrounding us and our circumstances, and it can still be a wonderful life we are living full of so much good.
This pandemic and it’s absolute upheaval to life as we know it has me needing to coach myself multiple times a day: I can do this hard, inconvenient thing. I don’t like feeling out of control or stretched to something outside my “normal”. But isn’t that just when I grow in character? When I exercise a muscle it develops more strength. That message now applies so well to my grade schooler: you can do this hard thing. You can persevere. This isn’t how we planned to do first grade, but you can grow and learn not only in spite of these challenges, but because of them!