The last few days and weeks have been nothing short of chaotic. Fear fills the minds and hearts of parents who desperately want to protect their families and vulnerable loved ones.
There is a sense of relief on the minds of parents who realize Covid-19 doesn’t have staggering fatality rates in children or generally healthy people. Yet there is excruciating fear for our parents, grandparents and family and friends with compromised health. Uncertainty with health, jobs, and the education of our communities is another big question we’re twirling around in our minds.
As panic becomes the only constant in our communities and feeling like we’re in a race against time, we must remember that our children are in their most formative years. The events that unfold and the way we handle them will become a lesson for many children and teens.
Dire times not only produce fears, but incredible opportunities for self-reflection, resourcefulness, and leadership. The silver-lining is what we as parents must be searching for each day, and finding out ways to keep the wheels moving despite challenges.
Here are some tips for how we can maintain leadership in our families and promote self-growth, despite dire times.
1. In all times, including uncertain times, focus on what you have. Everyone has blessings—it’s time to start counting them. These are anchors in times of uncertainty. My son is my anchor as when I’m busy reading the news or worrying, I’m grounded by his sense of wanting to live in each moment. Whether it’s just hugs, laughter, listening to his stories, he grounds me.
2. Use social distancing as a chance to refocus. In our daily lives, we are so bombarded by activities, schedules and trying to be all things that we often lose sight of what we really want. Now’s the time to take an inventory of your life—what you want, what you don’t. Maybe you can even start writing a list of the things you’d like to accomplish. While each day presents new findings and advice and it’s important to stay informed, do yourself a favor and try to tune out of the social media and get excited about your plan. Social media can become like a vortex in times of uncertainty—and I can tell you, that’s counterproductive.
3. Once you’ve nailed down your list, get resourceful. We all need each other to survive. The world is not over—despite the tone of many doomsday sayers. Historically, there will always be people who think the world is coming to an end, and despite what they say, we keep going. We will grow from this—it’s in our human nature and history proves that we will adapt. Now’s the time to figure out how we’re going to do it. Self-isolation has come at a time where we can keep the gears moving with the technology that’s available.
4. Know that sometimes the darkest times in our lives prepare us for the best outcomes. William Blake was famously known for his romantic poetry that focused on comparing opposites: If we didn’t know hell, we wouldn’t know heaven. If we didn’t know darkness, we wouldn’t know light. If we had no hardship, we wouldn’t be able to recognize when life is really good. Greta Thunberg set a tone at the end of 2019, warning us that we had to make some changes. Let’s embrace hardship as paving the way for positive change.
What we do now matters so much as our kids grow up in a changing world. Let’s leave them with a sense of resilience. Let’s show our kids how to do it. Let’s not let fear and panic define us. Let’s define our futures, and let’s show our kids how it’s done. That’s the best lesson we can teach them.