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Challenge: Back to School 2020

Parents Of the Big kids...Lead Them Well

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To the parents of the big kids...

The school-aged kids...

The tweens and teens...

This pandemic has been so tough on you, especially because it’s been so tough on your kids.

It’s been hard to watch so much being ripped out from under their feet.

It was hard to help them conquer distance learning. It’s hard to accept the fact that distance learning is likely to happen again.

It’s been hard watching their physical activity come to a screeching halt.

Their emotional and mental well-being decline.

It’s been hard to watch them so isolated from their friends.

It’s been so hard to say no. To so much.

It’s been hard to bear the brunt of bad attitudes and misplaced frustration.

It’s been hard to explain, especially because there really aren’t any good answers.

It’s been hard being labeled “selfish” for wanting to get your kids back into school. Back into a routine and a groove that works so well for them and keeps them on track.

It’s been hard being labeled a “fear-monger” for having genuine, valid, and real concerns about kids going back to school.

It’s been impossible to get anything accomplished with these big kids at your feet. It’s a different exhaustion from their younger days, but it’s exhaustion and exasperation nonetheless.

It’s also been pretty amazing to see them totally rock a lifestyle more like the one you had growing up.

Bike rides? No schedules? Nowhere to go at all? Playing outside until you call them in for dinner? 80’s movies? Simple pleasures? They surprisingly love it.

It’s been an abundance of bonus time with them you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten without the mandatory shut downs, school closures, lockdowns, travel bans.

It’s been a chance to settle in and slow down and focus on what’s important. And teach them to do the same.

And now we are shifting gears.

I think in some ways we all thought it would be over by now.

We never dreamed a new school year would come and we’d be in the exact same place.

As we gear up for back to school (however that may look for your family), let’s take a moment to celebrate how far we’ve come.

How far those big kids of ours have come.

It might feel in some ways that we’re stuck in the same spot, but we’re not.

Look at how we’ve all adapted.

Look at how we’ve found ways to greet one another and be near one another without getting too close and still keeping our distance.

Look at how much we’ve learned about being flexible. Who knew we could flip ourselves into human sized pretzels?

Look at how we’re learning patience and fortitude and self-discipline. Whether we like it or not.

Look at how we’ve all grown. Us, yes.

But how about our kids? They’re taller. Their shoes are bigger. And don’t even get me started on their hair.

But also, they’re just more grown. They’ve toughed out an incredibly hard moment in time and here they are, still vertical.

They deserve a standing ovation. And to be TikTok famous.

Moving forward, we are going to have to keep twisting and bending and flexing...our attitudes and minds and hearts.

Things are going to look different for quite some time.

Things are going to keep changing.

Our kids will likely have more rituals and routines ripped from under their feet.

Fall sports

Birthday parties

Trick or treating

Mingling with friends in the hallway at school

Group work (and the go-getters and introverts say, “Amen.”)

Class trips

Who knows what else?

Let’s train ourselves to be positive.

To make the best of it.

To find things we CAN do and let those be our joy.

To use a little creativity and ingenuity to come up with new rituals and traditions.

Or find safe ways to keep the old ones.

Our children are watching us. Always.

For those of us with bigger kids, there’s a whole lot more on the line.

We’re not just teaching them how to act (or react) in a pandemic.

We are teaching them how to take on life.

We made the best of a crazy spring and a dismal summer.

We can make the most of a fall that’s sure to be unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.

To the parents of the big kids...

It’s going to be tough, but we can do this.

We’ve got to do this.

The future of our world depends on us.

Because the future of our world is right down the hall...playing video games, watching YouTube and Hamilton, learning TikTok dances, and gearing up for a new school year they don’t yet know how to navigate.

And they are watching us. Ready to take our lead.

Let’s lead them well.

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