Andy Blum, LCSW, Early Childhood-5th Grade Counselor

I recently read a post on FaceBook from a teacher that I really liked.  In the post she tells parents not to stress about schoolwork.  She says a teacher’s main goal is to get the children back on track.  As parents our focus should be on our children's social/emotional well-being, without which the brain cannot learn.  The teacher asks parents to share their calm, strength and laughter and reminds parents the child is exactly where they need to be.  I loved this because it rings true for all of us in this very stressful situation. 

I also read an article from a principal.  It did not have the principal's name to quote but I felt like it was worth sharing the school principal's words:  

"What if... when people say kids are going to be ‘behind,’ I say behind what? Not each other--they're all in the same boat.  Any curriculum will have limited context due to these extraordinary circumstances. Rather than being ‘behind,’ I say these children are ‘in front’ in so many other more important areas.”

What if we say instead of behind, that this group of kids is advanced because of this new reality we are living? What if they have more empathy, they enjoy family connection, they can be more creative and entertain themselves, they love to read, they love to express themselves in writing?

What if they enjoy the simple things, like their own backyard and sitting near a window in the quiet?  What if they notice the birds and dates the different flowers emerge, and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower?

What if this generation is one to learn to cook, organize their space, do their laundry, and keep a well-run home?  What if they learn the value of eating together as a family, finding the good to share in small delights of the everyday?

What if they are the ones to place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, librarians, public servants and the previously invisible essential support workers like truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, custodians, logistics, and health care workers and their supporting staff, just to name a few of the millions taking care of us right now while we are sheltered in place?

What if among these children, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and a simpler life, who has a fine sense of empathy and care and concern for fellow humans?

What if he or she truly learns what really matters in all this?

In such uncertain times, when it is easy for our minds to gravitate towards the negative, it is helpful to look for the lessons that we can learn from all of this and know that we can emerge stronger.

Virtually here for you and wishing you all well.