Yep, this pretty much describes how a multitude of parents and teachers are feeling right now, exposed and vulnerable. Virtual schooling has pulled back the curtain on classrooms and living rooms across the country leaving parents and teachers feeling very weak and very helpless. The pandemic has caused most of us to feel off center, and certainly not on top of our game and yet for parents and teachers, ready or not, it’s virtual “showtime.”
Can you imagine what it must be like to perform before an audience without a rehearsal or two and no supporting cast? That’s exactly what the actors in this virtual showtime are doing. To say they have anxiety is an understatement, worse though is the relentless and harsh inner critic; the voice in their head telling them they’re not good enough. We would never say that to our children/students. We allow them the space to learn, problem solve and experiment. Most importantly, we provide them with a supporting cast to guide them in their academic, social and emotional journey.
But where are the understudies for parents and teachers? There aren’t any and never have been. For decades society has exerted relentless pressure in their demands for an academy award winning performance from teachers and parents without having any skin in the game. Educating children requires a team of supporters who are invested in the outcome. For too long parents and teachers have been acting “as if they can handle it all.” They can’t, the curtain has been pulled back, and it’s no shame on them. But the energy reserves are wearing thin and soon to be exhausted. With kids, we only get one chance to get it right. Parents and teachers get this, its time to get everyone else engaged in the performance.
Here’s an idea!
What if parents and teachers became the understudy for each other, that is to support and help each other?
What if parents and teachers together, told the story to the village about what it takes to raise a child.
What if, at the final curtain call (the end of the pandemic) in a unified voice we say, no more short-changing families, education, and most importantly, no more short-changing children.
Then our audience of children, will be giving us the standing ovation that we have always deserved.
Struggling with Transitions?
You can learn more about strengthening your social and emotional muscles at a free virtual pop-up event Navigating Life’s Transitions – You Are Not Alone,Thursday, October 14, 2021, 7-8pm ET.
When we are called to be a Servant Leader (that is, our service is to others), it’s not uncommon to feel as if we have fallen into a dark hole, experiencing exhaustion, anxiety, burn out and questioning if we are even making a difference. All of these are signs of a disconnect from our true nature. Servant Leaders are needed now more than ever. When disconnected from our true nature, we also become disconnected with our core values, purpose and passion, and everything we do takes a lot of energy and effort.
But all is not lost. The path back to your true nature is simple, it just takes time and a willingness to take super small steps. This journey, I assure you will start to bring you what all humans desire, safety, connection, peace and freedom.
I invite you to join me in April for a series of four one-hour sessions to take steps on the path back to your true nature. Now more than ever, our world needs the gifts of a Servant Leader, the world needs you. I hope to see you in April!
When we are called to be a Servant Leader (that is our service is to others), we often never think that the first place to be compassionate is to ourselves. During this time together a few simple steps will be shared on ways to put yourself at the center of the compassion circle and why this is so important to your life and to those you serve.
An Event hosted by Parenting Awareness Michigan with a guest speaker from Parent Action for Healthy Kids, Barb Flis.
March 18th, 1pm – 2pm.
Register in advance to attend this zoom virtual meeting.
Pontiac Parents & Supportive AdultsTalk Early & Talk Often — Connecting with our Teens during COVID-19
We are certainly in challenging times and families more than ever need as much support as possible, especially when it comes to helping our teens adopt behaviors that will keep them safe and healthy. This gathering space will be a place to receive support, as well as a few strategies on keeping an open and loving connection with your teen.
The facilitator for the gathering will be: Barb Flis, Founder of Parent Action for Healthy Kids. We hope you will join us!
Hosted by: Honor Community Health & School District of the City of Pontiac
Yours, His, Hers, Mine & Our:
Journey with Education
When my kids started school decades ago, I found September to be more of a milestone for me than their birthdays. Because my educational experience was less than ideal, I was apprehensive about whether I was going to be able to hold up my end of the educational deal between teacher and parent. Each year, I felt like I was climbing a higher mountain in their educational journey. Briskly moving from simple colors and letters in kindergarten, to high school physics class, fear became a frequent visitor.
I truly don’t know what parents are going through today raising and educating a child during a pandemic. But I do know the fear and doubt that are ever-present as a parent. Rather than give you sympathy and be a co-conspirator which only serves to feed your fear and doubt, I am going to offer you something much better, hope. Hope along with the opportunity for social and emotional learning for both you and your child that will last long after the pandemic is over.
What saved me from plummeting down the K-12 education mountain were the teachers. Thankfully, my fear forced me to crack open the door just a little to admitting I needed help; and there, standing by willing and able, was a teacher. I have hung around teachers for decades and one thing I know for sure, they’re suckers when it comes to teaching. They are educators to the core. They helped this frightened little Momma and showed me the way. So much so that when my oldest daughter graduated from high school, those same teachers told me now it was my turn. “You are one smart cookie, go back to college, and get your degree.” This smart and still frightened little cookie listened and soon thereafter ensued a bachelors and masters degree and my twentieth year in business connecting parents and teachers.
I urge you to get your hiking boots on and climb this mountain one step at a time. When reflecting on my journey here is what I can pass along for you to consider:
Here are a few things you can consider:
Know who is responsible for what. You are the parent, not the student. As a parent you’re job is to make sure structures are in place so learning can happen. Your child is responsible for learning. The teacher can’t assess how students are doing if the lines get blurry.
Be comfortable asking for help. Let the teacher know what you are struggling with and what your child is struggling with. This goes for personal circumstances that can interfere with learning as well as academics. The teacher won’t know how to assist or correct things if she/he doesn’t know the backstory. Hey, it’s also great modeling for your child in identifying and solving problems.
You’re always going to be afraid, so rather than resist it, make friends with it. Fear is there to sharpen your instincts and intuition. It might be telling you to reach out for help, or challenging you to learn something new. This is the same self-management we want our kids to learn.
Make curiosity a part of the journey. It’s not “can I do this,” but, “how will I do this?” Goal setting and perspective-taking is empowering as well as motivating.
Be playful, laugh often, especially at yourself. The gift in laughter is that it breaks open the brain to lots of possibilities and creativity. The inspiration and insight that appears will astound you. This is why you will hear teachers say “learning is fun.” Besides it’s impossible to have a positive thought and a negative thought at the same time, so why not go for the positive.
I was with a group of teachers last week, and I can tell you they are feeling all of the same emotions that you are. As is the case for everyone, life has been flipped upside down. What came through loud and clear however was a “can do” spirit in each of them. They are determined to create an environment where students can learn. They will do the heavy lifting which will be made easier with parents by their side.
Here is to a happy, healthy and memorable school year!
Barbara Flis, Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids
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