I don’t know about you, but every conversation I’ve had lately has been about the big question: What is going to happen with kids and schools in the fall?! No one has good answers, and no one feels 100% confident in their decisions (although this resource guide from Boston Moms definitely helps!). It’s messy and complicated, and no decision feels totally right.
About a week ago, however, I realized I wanted to pivot in how I thought about the fall. Without changing a single factor or circumstance, I realized I could look at the fall with fear — or I could look at it as an opportunity for growth. Rather than agonize over keeping my kids safe and making the right school decision, I wanted to dream about the unique possibilities this year might hold for them.
Here are a few of the unique opportunities I’m excited about!
I’m excited my kids will get to learn the F word and grow in their ability to adapt.
“Flexibility” is the F word I’m thinking of, but it sticks in your brain better when I just call it the F word. Regardless of what choice you make school-wise, it will in all likelihood be *different* than it would have been. My hope is that this unique fall — with its abnormal conditions, rapid changes, and potential disruption to routines — will force my children to flex their adaptability muscles and grow in their abilities to adjust quickly to changes.
This year has felt hard in SO so many ways. But through it all, my kids have not lost their silliness, their senses of humor, or their ability to turn everything into a fart joke. Our increased flexibility has meant a lot more opportunities for laughter and spontaneous adventures, and I hope that continues this fall.
I’m excited to see resilience and flexibility develop greater empathy.
When we were going through our cancer journey a few years ago, it used to drive me crazy when people would brush off my kids’ grief by telling me, “Well, kids are resilient — they’ll be fine.” While that is true, it often disregards legitimate pain in the process. A few months in, however, a very wise friend rephrased it. She told me that one of the greatest gifts of loss well-processed is that it builds resilience — and it also builds deeper empathy for others in uncomfortable circumstances.
Our kids are going through a lot of transitions right now. Whether learning is in person or virtual or homeschooled, it is most likely different than it would have been otherwise. And there is certain grief to that loss — no matter what wise decision is made. I think it is true that kids are fairly resilient, and in the long run, they will be fine. But my hope for my kids is that going through this season of unexpected and uncomfortable — and processing it well — will build resiliency and flexibility, and, most importantly, empathy for others.
I’m excited to see community and relationships grow deeper.
We’ve spent a lot of time together as a family, and that has had its ups and downs. But the biggest positive is the deeper relationships that have formed between my kids. Out of necessity, they are each other’s best friends and closest playmates. It’s not always sweet and endearing — we’ve had far more fights than ever before too. But as their social circles have shrunk, their relationships have deepened. Even within our “pod” of friends that we outdoor play-date with now, the relationships have gotten stronger because there are fewer of them.
While I can’t wait for big parties and large social circles again, I am also treasuring this unique moment to go deeper with my inner circles. For my kids, I’m hoping that depth of security and relationship continues this fall.
I’m excited to see a love of science and innovation grow in this generation.
My almost-4-year-old routinely tells me that “It’s time for the ‘ronavirus to be done.” When I ask her what needs to happen for that to occur, she’ll tell me that we need to wear our masks, wash our hands, and find a vaccine. My 6- and 7-year-olds are fascinated by how vaccines work, and we’ve had numerous conversations about the scientific process and how you test a hypothesis. They are curious about science in brand new ways, because of encountering a scientific obstacle. At 4, 6, and 7, my kids know more about pandemics, diseases, and the scientific method than I did in 7th or 8th grade — because this is their world right now.
When I allow myself to dream for them, I dream that this curiosity would lead them to love science and use their questions to drive innovation!