Moments of Joy Amidst the Challenges
Growing up during a global pandemic is a challenge. For that matter, so is parenting and educating children during this time. How can we create an atmosphere of normal when our world is anything but?
Somehow, even with remote learning, safety precautions, separation from friends and family, and so much more, there are still glimmers of good. A global threat has somehow managed to connect us all while making our little worlds a bit smaller and a bit more cozy. We have been forced to slow down. Our perspectives have adjusted. And although we are still facing critical challenges, we can all agree that the moments of joy in between have been even sweeter.
We decided to share some of the silver linings we have been experiencing at home. We would love to hear from you; please join the conversation and let us know how your family has found moments of joy throughout the past year.
Spending more time together as a family
Early last year it felt like the world came to a grinding halt. Like it or not, many of us suddenly found ourselves at home a whole lot more than we were used to. Schools turned to remote learning and offices had employees working from home. We all became well-versed in navigating zoom calls, simultaneously juggling parenting and working, finding a bit of grace when we couldn’t balance it all, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, we began to delight in the extra time together as a family.
Without commutes and social obligations, we have found ourselves gathering around the coffee table for board games. Family movie nights have been a regular occurrence, and who among us hasn’t stepped up their cooking and/or baking game?
Even as our schedules have slowly inched their way back toward some semblance of normality, the extra family time has remained a newly treasured value for many of us. We cannot control what happens in the larger world around us, but we can focus inward and relish in the beauty of spending more time with our children.
“I feel guilty saying this, with all of the loss and hardship that so much of the world has experienced due to the pandemic, but these days have been a truly wonderful time for us. We've never cared much for routines and schedules. What feels like uncertainty, boredom, and loss of structure to some, feels like a gift to us. A gift of freedom to chase whatever butterflies emerge from our imaginations. And, with fewer places to be, fewer people to meet, a gift of time to chase our butterflies as far as we want. We often wake up with ideas of things we want to create.”
The admirable resilience of our children
While we are not in any way diminishing the challenges our children have faced, it has been pretty amazing to watch how well they have coped overall. Some folks have been taken aback by just how well their kids have adjusted. Many of our children have stepped up and shown a level of independence and maturity that surprises us. Other parents have admired the ease in which they have adapted to regulations designed for keeping us all safe.
For so many of us, more time at home has meant more time for creativity. As we mentioned earlier in the article, many families have taken to the kitchen. Some have created makeshift art studios while others have begun to dedicate time to passions put on pause. Our students have taken on new media and entrepreneurial projects and after a recent snowfall, made beautiful snow creatures in their homes.
Montessori often spoke about the need to give our children long periods of uninterrupted time so that they may delve deeply into areas of interest. While this is the basis for Montessori work periods, it has also found an unexpected application in our forced time at home. Our kids are showing us interests, talents, and skills that we may have never even known they had. It is amazing to watch their deep focus, and their joy in what they create.
None of us know exactly when this pandemic will end. We still face so many serious challenges of many types, and we must work hard to support and protect one another. But let us take just a bit of time to notice the good, for there is much of that as well.