Healthcare workers, grocery and food-service workers, utility workers, internet service providers, truckers, delivery drivers, sanitation workers, the ladies sewing mask after mask and asking nothing in return, police, fire, postal service workers, manufacturing plant workers, those who work in the media, bankers, teachers, parents… all heroes during this time. I’m sure I’ve missed a few, and if I’ve forgotten an essential worker here you know it wasn’t intentional.
We’ve all been learning to step up and sit down (haha, see what I did there?) during this crazy time. Something like this is pretty unprecedented to modern memory… I can’t remember a time that basic items like flour and dried beans and rice were just not to be found on any grocery store shelves. Not to mention that whole toilet paper thing. It’s been a little unnerving, to say the least!
But I wanted to focus this post on the REAL heroes of this pandemic… the ones who are proving themselves to be the most affected, and yet the most resilient at the same time. The kids.
Imagine this, (it may be a pretty familiar story to some of you!) You’re packing up your things for spring break. You know you’ll be back in a week or two, so maybe you leave a beloved stuffed-friend, or a jacket or something like that behind at your desk or locker. You’re excited about the break: no homework!!
You know what happens next… suddenly Spring Break stretches out an extra week. Still loving it because “Yay! No homework!” But things are getting a bit weird. Mom and Dad seem a bit stressed and you’re hearing things about a virus… kinda scary.
As time passes, it becomes obvious that there will no returning to class after spring break. No getting back to see your friends, and suddenly your teacher starts sending you homework online. That’s if you have good internet service in the first place. If not, then it might come in the mail. Either way, you’re getting the least fun part of school, without any of the real fun parts. And you really start to miss that little stuffed friend you left back on your desk.
For some kids, it’s a matter of every single activity they’re involved in suddenly being canceled. Soccer season, now finished without a single practice having been held. Dance and music lessons: doing their best to provide online lessons, but it still isn’t the same. Even Sunday School and church services have been canceled and have gone online.
When is this thing going to end, they may ask. When are things going to get back to normal? The unsettling answer they receive doesn’t help… no one knows.
Hopefully, their family stays healthy, can survive financially. Hopefully, their family is loving and supportive and food isn’t an issue.
And then there’s those kiddos who are graduating High School this year. They are missing out on the proms and trips and end-of-year traditions; graduations delayed. Schools are lighting up football fields in recognition of the grace these kids have shown in dealing with this situation.
Yes, the kids are the real heroes here.
We are doing our best to help them through, but having never been through anything even remotely similar ourselves, it makes it difficult. ComputerGuy and I often tell Rocketboy (during moments of teenage frustration) that we remember what it’s like being that age, going through what he’s going through. Having to deal with hormones and issues with younger siblings and school deadlines, etc. etc. etc. But when ComputerGuy had a conversation with him last week, he had to tell him, that hey… we really *don’t* know what you’re dealing with here. We’ve never experienced this either. Somehow, inexplicably, Rocketboy found that in itself comforting.
Schooling at home is one of the new facets to this (hopefully very temporary) new normal. Kids under stress don’t learn well, which leads to frustration, which leads to even more frustration, and it can snowball. Emotional trauma prevents learning. The brain goes into survival mode, and things like reading and math don’t rank very high on the priority list when self-protection is the priority.
Parents, we need to share our calm. We can be open and honest about our frustrations, but we should never overburden these kiddos. Let them BE kids, they will have to carry adult-sized burdens when they’re adults, soon enough– they don’t need the additional baggage right now. Share your strength, share your laughter. Make rememberies. We have more time now to share with them than ever before! Make the most of it! Play games, do crafts, start new hobbies and traditions.
Remember this is their Pearl Harbor. This is their JFK assassination. This is their 9/11. This will be the thing their grandkids will ask them about; what it was like living through. Their “where were you when…” Let’s help them make these memories positive ones, despite everything.
Don’t stress about the school work. There is NO behind. Everyone is in the same boat right now. Even if your kidlets go to public school, the teachers know that everyone may need a little extra hand-holding next fall. There is no shame in that. Your kiddos are exactly where they need to be right now… with you.
What are some fun ways you are making memories during this stay-at-home season?
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