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Back to School, Backed Up Against a Wall

‘Back-to-school’ has never been a more fluid concept…am I right?  I remember the good old days when my parents were prepping me for school - it rarely got more complicated than buying a backpack, a binder, and a pencil sharpener.  Now as I’ve been preparing for my preschooler’s new school year, it seems like every day I get to tackle a new surprise!  Virtual learning, hybrid models, children coping with masks, parents desperately searching for ‘quaran-teams’, and never knowing how long this ‘new normal’ will last.

Opinions on schooling strategies run the gamut: some parents are excited for their children to return back to a full day of learning and socializing with friends. Others are borderline panicked by the risks of exposure, and unsure how part-time school protects the health of their families. Most parents put a ton of mental energy into how they can best shape their child’s environment, but at times like these we often find outselves with far more questions than answers, and it’s easy to get dizzy if you think about it too long. Here’s my solution to all this mental stress wrapped up in five little words:

Control what you can control. A wise friend and pastor, Dr. Robb Thompson, once told me: “As parents, it’s our job to put the good stuff in, because we will never be able to keep all the bad stuff out.”  Children are usually more resilient than we give them credit for, and if I try to create a problem-free environment for my kids I might as well be trying to hold a hurricane in my hands - I’ll end up frustrated, exhausted, and without results.  But when I focus on things I can control I feel empowered, productive, and strong.  Knowing that I can choose a positive response to my environment not only keeps me calm, but it teaches my kids that they get to choose how they react to the world.

  • Quarantine can get lonely.  But we can model creativity, imagination-play, and gratitude for family (and Facetime)!

  • The world is full of injustice.  But we can demonstrate kindness and diversity in our personal lives.  

  • Our planet has germs in it, and though we can avoid some it’s unrealistic to think we can avoid them all.  But we CAN put healthy nutrients into our bodies that help us stay smart and strong. 

Control what you can control.  And don’t stress about the rest.  

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