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!
Recess for most of us and for kids today, was and still is one of the best parts of the school day. It’s time to get a break from the classroom, run around, play, climb, socialize, or just sit under a tree and contemplate. Over the last two decades, recess has been shortened, cut back, and in some cases, cut out completely to give way to a more rigorous schedule. Its only savior has been the research revealing the undeniable benefits recess has for improved focus, academic success and overall physical and emotional well-being. It’s an interesting social phenomenon that we’ll take a stand for and insist on for our children but won’t insist on it for ourselves.
As I work with parents, teachers, and school leaders, I always come away with a jaw-dropping list of topics to blog about. How lucky am I to bear witness to the love, care, and determination so willingly given to make it work for students under quite unworkable circumstances? My vision is to raise the important work of families and schools and bring attention to the uniqueness of their roles. Unique because they don’t do it for the financial gain (quite the contrary for parents), they do it for the moral compensation which can’t be measured.
Today, my heart is heavy. I can’t bring myself to offer an ounce of encouragement to “stay with it” or to say, “keep going, you’ve got this”. The behind the scenes view is troubling. The 24/7 grind is showing. No matter who I met in recent weeks, parent, teacher, building principal or superintendent, they looked bone-weary, dare I say physically and emotionally bankrupt. So, with things so dire, taking a break, going out for recess seems like a logical thing to do, but then why isn’t it happening?
As dubious as it sounds, its guilt, and there is an outpouring of it! And let’s face it, honest to goodness self-care just isn’t popular! Not to mention the unfounded shame involved. We perceive that setting a boundary to take care of yourself and saying, “I need a break,” will cause judgment to be cast upon us. It might appear that you’re not doing your job or you’re not keeping pace or worst of all, you don’t care. No doubt, that perception is accurate; however, the logic is skewed. When we by-pass our exhaustion and our feelings, we pay a price and, spoiler alert, the kids pay a price too. Think about it, we’re modeling for our children that it’s not who we are that matters, it’s what we do that reigns supreme. Yep, Big Ouch!!!
There is a cure for this pandemic of self-neglect, but it takes courage and most important, baby steps. Parents and educators have been generous in granting grace to each other, now it’s time to extend that same grace to ourselves. Can you find five minutes a day? Good, use the five minutes to try these three simple things:
Take a deep breath. Stand up, get your feet on the ground. Close your eyes and take a deep breath and hold it until you feel the tension, then release. Do this three times. This will help you ground yourself. The exhale will help you release and rejuvenate.
Draw an imaginary arm’s length circle around you. This is your boundary. The space you take up in the world. It is what you have control of and the knowing of what you value. This boundary helps you to feel safe and protect what is important to you.
Get quiet and notice one sound in the room. This is your sacred time to come back to yourself, the wise, unique you. Allow and notice all of your feelings. Don’t ignore the vulnerable parts, like the fear, worry, anxiety, confusion, anger. We spend a lot of energy pushing away feelings rather than honoring them. This quiet time heightens your intuition which is always there and paying attention. It is what helps orient you to change.
I have seen countless wise teachers, stop instruction because the kids desperately needed to get out on the playground and move. The school bell is ringing for the caretakers. Let’s grace ourselves with a five-minute recess. If I haven’t convinced you, then let me just say this, the best way to love your child is to love yourself.
Here is to a happy, healthy and memorable school year!
Barbara Flis, Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids
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