Whether we’re ready for it or not, in the next several weeks as school begins to resume (either virtually, in person, or a hybrid of both), we will be entering the next chapter of this wild ride we’re calling 2020. And as we all stumble along trying to figure out our “new normal”, we are surrounded by little eyes anxiously awaiting our next move.
For most of us, this next chapter is filled with unknowns and many real, tangible fears. Trying to juggle our families’ safety, the social & mental wellness of our kids, educational needs, and careers. It’s an impossible conundrum, with NO RIGHT answer.
Everyone is going to have different needs, different priorities, and therefore choose different options. And while it may be very tempting at times, it is not ours to judge. What’s important isn’t whether we choose to send our kids to school or keep them home, but rather how we, as the leaders of our families, handle it.
Now, more than ever, we have to remember that we have lots of little eyes watching us. We are the trusted keepers of impressionable hearts and minds.
My hope is that as the leaders of our homes and our families, we embrace the full weight of that job and recognize that how these next six, or twelve, months go for our kids isn’t what our school boards or teachers or even our President decide, but how we as parents choose to respond.
We can choose to lead with compassion, empathy, openness, and grace — for our neighbors, for our communities, for our teachers, our children, and most importantly for ourselves.
Our children are anxiously awaiting and watching our responses to this next chapter, so let’s embody those values and characteristics that we so often try and teach them.
Let’s show them that no matter what school looks like this fall, they will be ok. Let’s reassure them that we will give them the tools they need to succeed, even if their “classroom” looks different this year.
Let’s show them that no matter what choices different families or schools make, it’s ok. Let’s show that while it’s easy to critique others who are doing it “differently”, our role is only to understand and not judge. Remembering that all of us are doing the best we can, with what we have.
Let’s show that even if they are scared or nervous or anxious about the school year, it will be ok. Let’s show them what bravery looks like, by being brave ourselves.
Right now, we are ALL a little scared. We are ALL anxious. We are ALL worried. About a wide range of things that for each of us looks different.
JP and I talk often about the idea of bravery with our kids, and what it means. To be brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, bravery is doing something even when you are scared.
I’m scared about the fall. For all of us. For the parents who are sending their kids to school because they have to work and have no options. For the mom who’s choosing to homeschool but is overwhelmed with her kids at home. For the teachers who are nervous about safety in the classroom but equally nervous about teaching virtually, and the schools who are trying to appease us all.
Regardless, this next chapter is happening. And while we can’t fully control what happens in our communities and schools, we can control what happens in the four walls of our home.
Our little ones are watching us.
Their eyes and ears are watching and listening to our every move (probably even more than we realize). Our kids are looking to us to know how they should feel, how they act, how they too should be responding to this “new norm”. So let us be the example.
Let’s show them compassion, empathy, and grace towards our neighbors, our communities, our schools, our teachers, and most importantly ourselves.
Let’s remind them, and ourselves, that in the end, they are going to be ok. That we will be there to guide them through this school year. And that no matter what, we will figure it out, together.