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  • Ashley Paz

The Kids Will Be Alright

I’ve never found anything on social media so captivating that I felt the urge to share it on my blog. But there’s a first time for everything!

Facebook user Jesse Brunette from Sheboygan, Wisconsin hit the nail on the head Enough for 123k users To reshape her message of realism in a world full of posturing and politics.

“Monday Message: The past 6+ months I've heard the phrase "our kids have already lost so much" countless times. And, my friends, I'm over it.
It's a bit pathetic, in my opinion, that as adults we are perpetuating the victim mentality for our kids instead of teaching them the art of grit and pivoting in unexpected or challenging times.
Using a current issue as an example, are kids really going to "suffer" of they don't trick or treat? No. Only if WE (the adults) model a "loss" mindset.
What if, instead, families looked at it as a way to plan a really fun evening? Maybe doing a family art project, bobbing for apples in mixing bowls, packaging up sweet treats to door drop for neighbors, creating a spooky themed meal together.
I assure you, if WE (the adults) started finding the OPPORTUNITY instead of inflating the perceived losses, we may actually find that we have opportunities to create lasting memories for our children. They'll remember that year they had a SPECIAL Halloween instead of trick or treating like every other year.
Shift your OWN perspective so we can look back at this time and remember how much our kids (and ourselves) LEARNED during the pandemic, not lost.
Opportunities are everywhere. For more quality time. For more exploring. For more conversations. For slowing down.
Mindset matters, friends. And WE are setting the stage for the next generation. Let's do better....for them and for ourselves.”

Jesse Brunette from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. You are a light in the darkness, and I want to give you a big lo’ hug, but you know, COVID. I have ruminated on this idea for several months. Where the slightest inconvenience for a privileged few becomes compounded into a massive failing by the public education system.

Behind the Scenes

The reality is that there are people who have worked around the clock all summer to completely reform the curriculum and instructional frameworks for 80,000 students. They have done so while simultaneously resolving one of the biggest data security breaches in an urban education system that involved countless hours of completely rebuilding servers. And our amazing Superintendent led the entire thing while caring for his ailing mother who he lost the night we voted on our continuity plan.

Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, and they still managed to have everything up and running on day one. Was the first day of school flawless? Absolutely not. But was it one of the best first days of school in my eight years on this board? Without question!

  1. More children than ever before had devices and connectivity at their fingertips.

  2. Children were engaged and excited to participate in their classes.

  3. Children started day one with access to social wraparound services to help with mental health and family supports.

  4. Children were fed three meals a day which is more than they get during the average school year.

  5. Children had access to teachers who spent weeks and months preparing for a way to make sure that they are successful

Those are things to celebrate. There are also areas to improve, and so many people are coming together to do just that.

We Set the Tone

Our children are watching how we react to uncertainty. Your child’s teacher should be the closest partner in their education. They love your children and know them in so many ways that we as parents don’t. We are lucky to have them in our village, and when we honor that relationship and work together to ensure that our babes have the tools they need then they will thrive.

When we stress and obsess over connectivity issues or micromanage instruction or refuse to participate because it is changed, then we are sending a very unhealthy message to our littles. I have lived in extreme poverty, and I have lived with extreme privilege.

Perseverance is an Asset

The greatest skills that I have learned in my life are the ability to adapt to change and persevere in the face of uncertainty. This has made me a successful entrepreneur and manager, and mom. It is human nature to want our children to have better than we did, but it isn’t always the healthiest.

I'm not here to judge anyone’s parenting style. Every family is different and every child has different needs. But the most basic level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs i is physiological needs and safety needs. The family unit can meet the rest of those needs with the right mindset and the right effort.

Mindsets Matter

I think of the amazing memories that our family has made over these past eight months. There have been hard times, and meltdowns, and evening one very public mental breakdown *ahem*. But we have also made dinners together, and driven out of the city on a school night to see comets, and taken road trips to private beaches, and studied about deep social issues. For everything we’ve lost, we have gained so much more.

Instead of trick or treating, we will be dressing up and staging a horror scene in our yard. I'm going to buy the candy we live and do without the Smarties and candy corn. We talked about preparing care packages for some of our neighbors who are homebound. This might very well be the best Halloween of their childhood!

We won’t be spending Thanksgiving with our families, but maybe we’ll drive out West and do a few days of camping and learn about ways to support the indigenous tribes of New Mexico or West Texas.

Christmas is going to be tight this year with me not having a steady paycheck, and we can’t be with family, but we can find other ways to celebrate while keeping ourselves and fellow man safe.

Confronting Suffering

I am a budding Buddhist in the practice of the principals, not necessarily as a religion. The teachings of the dharma are to accept suffering and find joy anyway. suffering is inevitable. The more you try to avoid it, the worse your suffering is likely to become. one can’t control their suffering, but you can control your response.

This has really become a long-winded way for me to say, let’s do better. We can do better for our children. Sometimes that means giving them the space to innovate and troubleshoot challenges at arm's length. Trust me, the future managers and coworkers will appreciate it.

You’ve Got This!

Now, go be strong, Mama! They can make their bed, and brush their teeth, and get themselves dressed. Trust me, if I can get through this then anyone can!

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