It seems unfair that our children have to endure something as frightening and unprecedented as the Covid-19 Pandemic. They have been displaced from school, removed from their friends, and many have been denied celebrations and rituals for which they have waited long and worked hard for.
What experience could call more on a family’s resilience and grit, particularly if we want to be careful as parents never to cultivate in our children a sense of being a victim or a proclivity for self-pity. Instead we can foster a sense of overcoming and learning from adversity.
What can we teach our children? On a more practical level, they will realize the importance of good hygiene. They will come to understand that regular washing of our hands, for example, is not a meaningless practice arbitrarily required by parents and teachers, but instead an important way of protecting our health. And they will learn that it’s important to stick to health habits in perilous times in the understanding that good self-care will help them to weather adversity.
On a more profound level, our children will learn that they can trust their family and their community to come together in a supportive way during times of crisis by agreeing to give up comforts and conveniences in the short term in order to create a safer future… They will be good citizens who understand the importance of personal sacrifice for the greater good. By willing to sacrifice by being largely confined to their house, for example, our children will understand that life is not just about what is good for you, but also what is good for others.
We will teacher our children to be wiser. They will understand that the catastrophic predictions and fears that they have been exposed to do not necessarily mean that the worst case scenario will happen, just as they will learn the discernment required to avoid living in a state of denial amidst the real possibility of danger.
Finally, we can teach our children to be creative in adapting to circumstances. If they can’t go out to eat, they can learn to cook. If they can’t go to the gym or play on a sports team, they can learn creative ways to stay physically active without violating the rules. They can develop an unshakable mindset that to every roadblock there is an alternate route and that to every problem there is a solution.
As we near the end of summer, and endure the hot temps…I, like many other parents...