The last time my children stepped inside of a classroom strictly for academic purposes was back on Friday, March 6, 2020. We were geared up for an exciting but restful Spring Break for my nearly teen boys. By the end of the week, the country was in a type of chaos my generation has never known.
“This year of the COVID-19 pandemic has taught our family resilience that we didn’t know we had.”
Spring Break was over and we were thrown into this new environment of virtual learning. A predictable and harried life of getting up and going to school and work gave way to questions like, “What’s the password and log-in code for class?” My diligence and hard work to organize and guide my children into a new way of learning, though difficult, turned out to be one of the easier points to navigate through all this uncertainty.
The most formidable challenge has been watching my oldest son struggle with loneliness during this time. He has always been the kind of child who likes to be in the middle of the action. Even in elementary school, he was the kid who joined every club and organization available to a fourth grader.
My husband and I started second-guessing if we made the right decision. We didn’t want our child hurting mentally even though we thought we were protecting him and ourselves physically. We knew we had to take action. We had conversations with him about how to fill the void of missed social interaction. We stressed the temporary nature of this school year and emphasized the hope for improvement for the next year. Even at his young age, he understood and appreciated this counsel. It was still not easy. We increased family activity and made sure to spend time outdoors in the fresh air which seemed to help.
A Year of Resilience
Ironically, the thing that was torn from him and made him feel alone is now his salvation. When the 3rd quarter of school arrived, the percussion director announced participation in several weekend competitions throughout the area. Participation was not mandatory but was highly encouraged.
“WE DIDN’T WANT OUR CHILD HURTING MENTALLY EVEN THOUGH WE THOUGHT WE WERE PROTECTING HIM AND OURSELVES PHYSICALLY.”
We were at a crossroads again. Do we skip participation due to concerns regarding COVID, or do we let them go to give them the social connection they have longed to gain? We decided based on many assurances that we would proceed.
At this time, we are preparing to wrap up with the final performance for the season. Their participation has breathed life into our home and more importantly, it has given my son a spark and a sense of pride that I cannot explain each time competition is complete. I could not be happier that we made this decision.
In retrospect, I cannot say that we would have chosen a different path. This year of the COVID-19 pandemic has taught our family resilience that we didn’t know we had. When my son finally reunites with his friends and to the world-at-large, I have no doubt he will have an appreciation for them that he didn’t know he should. I am thankful for the opportunity to help guide him to that realization.
Kendra Furlough is a freelance writer and avid gluten-free foodie. She is married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother of two sons entering the teen years. She loves celebrating holidays and joyously feeds her obsession with buying handcrafted soaps from Whole Foods and farmer’s markets.★