The Coronavirus has turned the world sideways and all of us are now forced to operate in unfamiliar territory. Long anticipated events will not happen or will be put on hold. Important college entrance tests are being canceled. Summer opportunities are evaporating. Shortages can impact our way of living.
Having been through multiple crises as a family, I can tell you that the events we endured were absolutely terrifying when staring them in the face. We dealt with health issues, completely hailed out crops, unemployment, financial disaster, even the loss of our beloved home. In my son’s important junior year, we were jerked around to multiple states in temporary housing in temporary jobs. However, by working together as a family, maintaining our sense of humor, and seeking to help others, we not only survived but thrived. My children were changed individuals. They were tougher, but also more compassionate. They developed as sense of purpose and a resilience that is uncommon in ones so young. They faced college knowing that they could cope with anything and that their family bonds were strong enough to hold them.
Thus, I can speak from experience when I encourage you to step back and take a breath. What seems insurmountable today can become manageable tomorrow. And, if it doesn’t, then you are strong enough to deal with that as well. Here are some things we learned that might help you deal with this present situation:
Maintain Perspective – While this kind of health threat in the US is unprecedented in our lifetime, it certainly is not as we glance back through history or if we look at other countries around the world today. There is nothing new under the sun, and humankind has weathered this kind of thing before. As much as we would like to believe we are bulletproof, that we can set our goals and follow through with our schedules, we need to humbly acknowledge that we are not in control and learn to deal with that.
Realize that for many, this international health crisis is far more serious than an interruption. Life-giving surgeries are being put on hold. People are dying alone in hospitals as they can have no visitors. Medical personal are at risk daily and risk going home and exposing their families. Some individuals are living alone without basic resources. There are people stranded that cannot get home and may not be able to for many weeks or months. Changing our paradigm can help us keep all this in perspective as our lives are forced into a pause.
See the Opportunity – Use this time to learn and grow. Reconnect with your kids and evaluate your life to see if you are spending it on the things that truly matter. Utilize this chance to train your children to cope with whatever life throws at them. Remember, they are watching you to see how you deal with all this.
Get Creative – Perhaps important summer activities are being cancelled or projects which have been long in the works are no longer viable. Now is the time to think outside the box for ways your kids can move forward with their lives. Perhaps timetables need to be adjusted or the total structure changed. Maybe there are new windows of opportunity for service.
Parents of older high school students are, of course, worried about how all this will impact college applications. Just remember that this is happening to everyone. Colleges know that. What really matters is how your student deals with the situation and how they use their time. During great stress, some kids get inspired, others fold. That is what matters in the long run.
Be Kind and Patient – Everyone is stressed. Everyone is pressured. Everyone is worried. Be extra considerate for anyone with whom you have contact. Realize that others’ needs are probably greater than your own.
Be Grateful –Appreciate the things you do have whether that is health or food or family.
Last week a dear friend and client sent me this most relevant wisdom from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”