While the current school situation is certainly not ideal nor perfect and it may not even be what you voted for, it is an opportunity to learn. While we may mourn the in-person interaction, the giggles in hallways, and the opportunity to physically move about, our children are learning. While it may not be 8:30-3:00 and all the academic lesson plans last year's children benefited from, they are learning. Through this ambiguous, confusing, stressful, strange, and different means of education, they are learning. What our children learn during this time are phenomenal interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence that they will take with them into college, the workforce, and throughout their life.
Our children are learning to be independent, adaptable, resilient, and resourceful. They are learning coping skills of managing through change. The social-emotional learning is different, and yet so powerful. They are learning about empowerment, self-awareness, and advocacy. They have to foster relationships in a different way and be comfortable with the decisions they make, on their own. They will make a mistake. They will be marked absent for showing up late. They will miss an assignment. They will mess up. Isn't that what learning is all about and why school prepared them for life?
They are learning how to ask for help or communicate that they have fallen behind. They are learning new ways to communicate, albeit a challenging one. Hopefully, they are learning about empathy, compassion, and humility when even our teachers, administrators, and parents are overwhelmed and confused. They are learning that you may not get what you want and that people have different needs, preferences, and perspectives. They are learning that diversity comes in many different ways and perhaps if we open up to listen and learn what others are thinking, feeling, and experiencing, we may learn more than we think we know.
It takes a village. We can create our own communities. We are in an unprecedented time. Let’s teach our children respect, gratitude, and an allowance to feel feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration. This is merely a page in a chapter of their book of life. Don’t condemn what is different or not desired- rather embrace and learn. The best innovations and insights come from challenges and failures. Let's fall and get back up again, together, and lead the way for those that are watching and observing.
Cheers to an opportunity to expand the definition of learning for our kids and ourselves.