Health and Well-Being: Blogging through COVID Together (End of Year)

June 15, 2020

Thank you for blogging through COVID with me for these last few months. We started this blog post as a way to share ideas and practices around health and well-being and to support each other as we navigated our way through this unique time in history. As we finish up this very unusual school year it is probably worth doing a quick review and reflection on what we have learned from each other so far.

We started this blog by wondering what stories our children would someday tell our grandchildren about their experience during this global pandemic. I know we will all have our own stories but here are some of the things I think our children have learned.

We are safe and cared about — The top consideration in homes, schools and in the wider community has always been safety, and our children learned that we care about their safety because we care about them. Parents and school staff have tried to do this in a way that fosters and promotes a feeling of security and care as well as a sense of personal responsibility.  Children understand that they are both doing their part by washing their hands and respecting distances and things like that, but that the adult in their lives are making sure that their homes, schools and communities are safe and caring spaces just like they have always been. 

We can do hard things — This was not easy. Our children watched us all trying and learning new things. They watched us come together as a community and support each other. They watched us struggle and get frustrated and keep going anyway. We taught them that they can do hard things. Sometimes we taught them to push through and keep going but they also learned that it is okay and often a good idea to step back, take a pause, and then try again or something new.  We had the opportunity to model a lot of different strategies but the important part our children learned is to keep going even if it is in a slightly different direction.

Relationships matter Even though we needed to keep physical distance, we found ways to maintain social connection because it mattered. We missed each other. We made an effort to let others know that we were thinking of them and to connect in creative and new ways. Our children watched, learned about, and practiced kindness with each other and with strangers. If your home is anything like mine then you also had a lot of opportunity to practice another thing that matters in relationships, which is how to negotiate differences and handle conflicts. We have had to practice patience, negotiate new ways of being together, and both give and receive forgiveness. If you are still working on this one, don’t worry you are in good company and you will continue to have more opportunity to practice, I’m sure. One of my favourite parenting experts, Barbara Coloroso, taught me and therefore my children, that there is no problem so big it can’t be solved. COVID-19 has really highlighted this for us and it reminds me of the next important lesson this experience has taught our children, which is to practice compassion with ourselves and others.

We are not perfect and that is okay — This was and is a global crisis. It is messy, imperfect, and emotional. None of us was perfect through all of this, but we were all doing our best in a highly unusual experience. If our children learned that it is okay to have feelings and to pay attention to them with compassion and curiosity, then that is a very good thing. If we have acknowledged the difficult parts of all of this and the feelings that went with it, and also remembered and celebrated the supports that have helped us through, then we have done well. If we have done some of this and sometimes, we forgot and were a bit of a mess then that is okay too. If we can be imperfect but get back up and do better, then that is an excellent model for our children too. It shows them how learning works because the best learning is always messy!

We are creative — Our children both watched and participated in creativity in all kinds of ways.  Sometimes they did that slowly, creativity that we can miss when we are rushing from activity to activity. They built forts or played games or explored the neighbourhood more. Other times the creativity came at a crazy speed where whole systems had to change overnight and they watched teachers and parents work together to create and deliver lessons in ways they had never even really considered before. Change that would normally take months or years even, happened in days. It was quite amazing the amount of change that we accomplished as a whole system in such a short time!

Learning will continue — Although we do not know exactly what school will look like in the fall, we do know that learning will continue. Whatever it looks like, we will be excited to welcome your children back to school in September. Thank you for learning with us during this crazy, unpredictable year and for blogging through COVID with me. You really have been amazing, and someday, years from now, your grandchildren are really going to love the stories!

Happy summer to all!