A devoted mother dove sits in the nest she built on a small shelf above the hose in our back yard. She’s been there for nearly two weeks. There were two eggs originally, and now there is one hatchling, whose eyes are still closed. I don’t know what happened to the other one. This mother bird offers a lesson in caring.
As we’re finishing up our fourth week of distance learning, caring is a pervasive theme. We meet with small groups of our teachers every week to talk over how each one is faring during this unprecedented time. Each one takes a turn sharing how the week has gone, both personally and professionally. Often the line between the two is blurry, particularly for our staff with young children at home. As they work to develop materials for their online class sessions, engage in 1:1 conversations with students, and offer emotional support to classroom parents, they have their own intensive demands on their ability to care. This past week we’ve spent a good bit of time talking about the personal/professional balance.
In addition to our conversations, I’ve been gathering information and articles that address working at home with children present. In many of the sources there are similar basic guidelines:
- establish a clearly defined schedule that children understand
- if two adults are present in the home, have a specific system to split time with kids, so work can be done
- set realistic expectations for both parents and children
- be kind to yourself, take breaks, and build self-care into the weekly schedule
A wonderful resource available to our staff and parents is free sessions with psychologist Sarah Crawford. Our first session was so well received that she is planning to hold another session on Wednesday, April 23 at noon. If you are interested in participating, contact Sarah at sarah@SarahCrawfordPhd.com.
As we all navigate our future of uncertainties, facing a life overloaded with change, it’s good to turn to the wisdom of children. On Wednesday, I had the privilege of meeting with our 1st/2nd graders for writing. We made two lists, one of how our lives have changed, and the other of things that remain the same. The list of changes was their focus for quite some time, and then we turned to what has remained steady. Here is their list:
• we still get to snuggle with our dogs
• our teeth are still missing
• we still have school work, except on weekends
• we still have our family
• we still have electronics
• our families are safe and okay
• we still have ourselves
I found their list to be hopeful, deepening my commitment to caring about each of them, their families, our staff, the greater Seed community, our city, and our planet. One thing I am learning is that when we model caring, our children follow suit. Obviously this is happening in the homes of our beloved Seed families.
For more thoughts on caring for children amidst work demands, check out these links: