How are your kids?
That’s the question I find myself pondering most recently as we each navigate through very uncharted territory.
More and more (thanks largely to social media) I’m becoming aware of some of the hurdles families are facing. Seniors with delayed or cancelled graduations, college students funding an education which is now no different than on-line schooling at a fraction of the cost and the wee ones missing pre-school and their teachers.
All or most seem to be missing their friends and just as we the adults (now homeschool teachers) may feel we need a “break” so too do our kids. They also miss their friends, their teachers and even the once hum drum routine of going to school.
Long before the world went crazy with Corona and we all became shut-ins, more fashionably known as “shelter in place” I saw a brilliant quote. Paraphrasing a bit, the wisdom I happened upon stated: “Years from now, your children will remember little of the details about the Coronavirus. What they will remember is how you reacted.”
Before expanding further, I feel it important to recognize my good fortune in a few areas of this multifaceted topic. My children will be 13 and 16 this coming June, they need very little in the way of schooling help from mom. Their ages also serve as benefit when I must run errands and retrieve “essentials.” If they have gone with me, they stay in the car. In addition several years ago, I began taking advantage of my opportunity to work remotely, so my transition to this mandatory role has been pretty seamless.
So as my gas consumption has dropped drastically, my bank account is growing from the lack of dinners out, we are also learning to “shelter in” in a way which works well for us.
Early into the first real week of “homeschool” I acknowledged to my children that my take might just look a bit different than others. Ever the workers and doers, my partner and I quickly used the opportunity to include the kids in ranch chores around his property.
Now, now, no need to dial 311 Corona gestapo, we’ve been in the company of him, his family, as well as his ranch since long before the “break out” so as we see it – we’re sheltered with “our” family, just as has been directed.
Back to the kids.
We’ve chosen to get creative with our at home learning, making the days go faster for the kids, as well as ourselves. Jumping straight to the chase, my duo are in night school. Yep. You betcha. When we have daylight and sunshine we look for things (i.e.: chores) for them to do outside, as well as around the house.
Hey friends, remember those articles you read and shared earlier this year about schools offering classes aimed at teaching life skills? Well, the time is here, so jump right on it.
Not one to lie, I must admit the transition has been anything but seamless. Yet this morning as I arrived home from an appointment I learned my daughter had taken care of kitchen clean up as well as dishwashing chores, long before being asked. My son also jumped on his Chromebook to finish up some math from the night before and then he was off to mow lawns and weed eat.
Now, I completely recognize we are in a unique and blessed situation. What I wonder however, is how have you (the adult) used this opportunity to think outside the box with your own children and respond versus react?
Personally, I see this as opportunity. I longed to be a mother for a very long time. In my personal and professional life, I’ve always thrived and enjoyed being a leader. Now I’ve been given true opportunity to be both.
Sure, I miss dropping my kids at school, grabbing a drink or dinner with my mommy friends and date nights with my guy – that’s the tough stuff.
What I think about however is how my children (and his) will look back on this someday with their own children. My hope is they’ll remember us making bread in the late afternoon, planting a garden on a sunny Sunday or taking in a few rounds of Corn Hole with country music and the smell of barbecue surrounding us.
Of course, only time will tell how we weather through all of this or how many weeks of column space I can actually get from this temporary life pause.
Yet what I know for sure is if we don’t rise to the challenge for our youth we are doing nothing more than failing them, as well as our future.
Be safe. Be well and stay home.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.