In times like these, we develop new strengths, and caring for children further compels us to wrest the good out of the challenges that thread our lives. To comfort and nurture the young, we accentuate the positive, pluck the optimistic from all that is negative and look for the improbable light at the end of a dark tunnel. Here, TCS’s esteemed clinical psychologist, Dr. Jules Spotts, reminds us that this time of enforced quiet can also be one of growth and expanding possibilities:
“By now, all of us who are doing our best to stay informed and act responsibly for ourselves and our children have read numerous helpful essays, pleas and the like. This is not another in that series. I am actively choosing to write this as an open letter to all connected to TCS from a caring, professional point of view as a member of the TCS community.
“Challenges notwithstanding, obstacles to surmount, the solidity of TCS remains unshakeable. Caring for children and meeting their needs will remain our central mission. There will be an abatement of the present dire situation, and we shall all be able again to actively participate in our lives. No doubt, there will be, of necessity, some variations and alterations in the normalcy we shall define thereafter. Let us all maintain confidence in our resiliency and the resiliency of our children.
“Healthy self-care must be of prime importance, with an adherence to all of the guidelines that have been developed, and very specifically those concerning social distancing. Maintain a balance between appropriate caution and logical sanity. Present to your children a quiet confidence that you and they are safe, that although there is cause for concern, there is no need for extreme fear, anxiety or panic.
“As you and your children participate in the virtual learning provided by TCS, think of the material from the school as a suggested framework for learning, not as a curriculum to be accomplished in its entirety and completed on a daily basis. Be kind to yourselves and to your children with respect to active participation in the materials provided to you by TCS. Plan some loosely formulated schedule that allows for the adults to carry out their work responsibilities while the children can be meaningfully occupied for defined periods of time. Read and read, and then read some more to your children. Watch a streamed concert, a YouTube ballet performance. Participate in an active book discussion with your kids of their favorite books. Take nature walks as the weather permits. Observe the spring flowers blooming and the foliating trees. Throw a baseball back and forth. Arrange virtual play dates for your children. Paint and draw together. Take virtual museum tours. Take photographs and use available software as you help your kids to adjust the images on the computer. In short, see this as a time for expansion of possibilities. Where there is so much we must do that involves limitation on our freedom of movement and physical and social contact, there is so much that can be done to broaden horizons and expand possibilities. Take plenty of breaks and allow for rest and re-energizing. All of this is so consistent with our mission of developing lifelong learners.
“Be certain to limit news exposure to children, and plan your own adult exposure to retain the aforementioned balance between appropriate caution and logical sanity. Stay connected virtually to your own adult friends and family. Arrange virtual dates with friends. If you do have questions or concerns, reach out to appropriate professionals for guidance.
“In closing, we must stay resolute, committed to responsible adulthood and quality parenting. As The Children’s School family, we all will see this as yet another opportunity, even if the barriers are higher, for learning, growth and development. Stay connected!”
To echo Dr. Spotts on the importance of community and connection, please remember that we are always here for you at TCS. Our virtual doors are always open, so let us hear from you in the days and weeks ahead.
Take good care of yourselves,