Across America, children, educators and families are presented with the daunting task of at-home instruction. Our virtual education skills are rising to new heights and there are new challenges every day. And yet, there is a rare gift in this social isolation: it is the gift of our children’s full attention.
These are the qualities we can model for our youth during these difficult times…
Compassion- We can teach our children to have compassion for others when we see the 5 item limit, glance behind at the long line of people needing the same item, and quietly only put 2 in our cart.
Empathy- We can look beyond our own situations and think of the plight of others. Young children can mail a card or drawing to a resident in a nursing home, where visitation has been currently curtailed. Teenagers can offer to shop for a bag of groceries for an elderly neighbor and leave it on the porch!
Generosity- Be mindful of those in your life who rely on hourly wages (your dog walker, babysitter, house cleaner) and take care of them as best you can. Be generous with your tips when a waiter-turned delivery person drops off food to your home. Let your children know why you are doing this!
Patience- We can model patience with our family members, our employers, the decision makers in our government. We can teach our children strategies for dealing with issues that may be out of our control and practicing acceptance.
Resilience- We can offer support when there are disappointments (a postponed birthday party, the loss of cherished activities for graduating seniors, a cancelled sports season) but then teach our children to move forward. Life is full of disappointments, big and small. It’s what you do with them that truly defines you.
Creativity- We are all charged with the tasks of finding innovative ways to learn and new avenues for having fun. This is the time for involving our children in baking, hiking, crafting, pulling out those dusty board games and jigsaw puzzles and enjoying these activities as a family.
Appreciation- We can teach our children to find the blessings in difficult situations. Express thankfulness for homes, family, good health, food, an education… even toilet paper!
In an age where we have often our lives spiraling out of control with agendas and activities, we have been forced to hit pause and focus on the simple things and we have been given the gift of opportunity to train up our children in what’s truly important.
A nation of young eyes are focused on all of us. They are our future leaders and American citizens. May we teach them well.