A viral post by mom and writer, Christine Derengowski reminds moms, fathers, caretakers and guardians everywhere on how to best show up for kids amid a pandemic.
“I’ve lost a year with my kids battling over school and I’m done. My seven-year-old and I were in the midst of our usual asynchronous day battle. I had his writing homework in my hand from school. He’d written several full, well-thought-out sentences.”
“But he won’t do the same for me, at least not without a fight. I told him he didn’t have to write about his best day like his teacher asked, he could write about his worst. He could write about whatever he wanted as long as he wrote a few sentences. He said he’d get in trouble. He said he was doing a bad job in first grade. He was on the brink of tears but didn’t know why. And it hit me.”
Christine then shared her simply yet mind blowing epiphany that kids were being asked just the same as adults — to adapt under unprecedented circumstances.
“Instead of getting frustrated and pushing the assignment, I sat down with him at his desk in his superhero bedroom. I said “you won’t get in trouble and you can’t fail first grade. In fact, you’re kind of a superhero yourself.” He sat up in his chair just a little and looked at me with disbelief.”
“I said, “Do you know that no kids in the history of kids have ever had to do what you’re doing right now? No kids in the history of kids have ever had to do school at home, sitting in their bedroom, watching their teacher on a computer. You and your friends are making history.”
“A visible weight lifted from his seven-year-old shoulders, “What does that mean?” I told him it means I haven’t given him nearly enough credit for rolling with the punches. I told him how proud I am of him and his friends. That kids this year are doing the impossible and they’re doing a really great job. I apologized for not saying it sooner and more often.”
Christine continued on, sharing how while she believes kids are resilient, they also deserve acknowledgement — similar to that of grocery store workers and healthcare providers.
“A little tear fell down his cheek. We’ve thanked everyone from healthcare workers to grocery store employees but we haven’t thanked the kids enough for bearing the burden of what we’ve put on their shoulders this year. We’ve said kids are resilient, and they are. But they are the real superheroes in this whole scenario for having ZERO say in their lives but doing their best to adjust every day.”
Christine ends the post with a reminder to lift up our little ones at this time by giving them room to breathe in the middle of this global pandemic that is our collective circumstance.
“We closed his school-issued laptop and spent the rest of the day playing. This was supposed to be temporary and here we are a year later still trying to hold our head above water. This is our home and I won’t turn it into a battleground anymore over something we can’t control. Something that no longer makes sense. Hug your little superheroes today and don’t forget to cut them the slack we’ve given everyone else.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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