2020 has shown the resilience of mankind and how capable we are of handling any challenge that comes our way. There is no doubt that lives have been changed forever - whether having lost a loved one, experienced significant financial hardship, or even simply faced conflict in the home, this year has brought challenges to most people's lives that we never imagined facing. On the flip side, it could be the year that we have long awaited and needed so desperately to shake things up and bring us back to a state of equilibrium. For parents and their children, there is so much to be grateful for and often we just need to be reminded to open our eyes and focus on the big picture.
Kids were forced to learn from home and parents were expected to assist with online learning. Understandably, not ideal when coupled with a full time job, endless hours of housework, and cooking several meals daily for the entire family. Did we survive? You bet! Not only did parents survive, so much has been learnt about different styles of learning and the incredible resources available to us all online that can support our ongoing learning and development.
We also now have a newfound appreciation and respect for teachers and school support staff. The integral role they play in our children's lives, their happiness, and their education is something not to be reckoned with.
There is no question that technology rules our lives. Kids are dependent on some daily screen time for their own contentment, parents are seemingly incapable of living without attachment to their mobile phones, and it’s rare to enjoy real and raw time with others, whilst offline and detached from the outside world.
Life under lockdown has pushed everyone's limits. We have been truly challenged to find new ways to entertain ourselves and our children, in order to stay sane. Despite some people having spent long periods of time in their home prior, there is something different about being forced to do so. Most families went from weeknights and some of the weekend in the home, to 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, living in large family homes to smaller inner-city apartments. No doubt, we all went a bit ‘stir-crazy’, but no surprise, again we survived!
How many kids have picked up new hobbies, learnt how to cook new recipes, helped mum and dad with housework, played outdoors, spent quality time with their siblings, and just enjoyed some of the simple things that life has to offer? With a bit of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, boredom will most certainly be a thing of the past!
Spending time with our parents or grandparents, or even a quick coffee with a friend after school drop-off is something we have long taken for granted. Who would have thought we would live to see the day that this is deemed a luxury?
When spending time with others, we often struggle to be in the present moment. We are often distracted by our mobile phones, our next hairdresser appointment, doing the grocery shopping for the week ahead, and the list goes on! How many of these distractions are life-threatening or even time-sensitive?
In times like these, we would go to lengths to simply catch-up with a friend, grab a bite to eat in a local cafe, or visit the grandparents on a Saturday afternoon. Connection is so important in this world and hopefully someday soon , we will retreat back to the days of being able to live in the present moment and enjoy the beautiful things that are right in front of us, because we never really know if they will be there tomorrow.
This year has forced significant change upon us all. We have had to adapt our lives to save lives, be patient, supportive, loving, and hopeful. We may have needed this awakening to gain perspective on the importance of life, education and connection. If we can each carry forward a few of the key insights we have gained, the years' hardships won’t all be for nothing.