It is inevitable, at times like this, that we review what we prioritise or value. This helps us to see the value of connecting with people, particularly family. I have definitely learned that my thinking is clearer when there are no challenges or distractions to what I am working on. Part of that is knowing where and how I fit in with others, knowing I will see them and knowing I am loved by family and friends.
I am really interested in what will come out of this forced cultural change and how it impacts on relationships and community.
There are clear implications for learning with this change to social norms, which is why the College is working to ensure students (and parents) still feel connected to the College, their peers and their teachers. It has also been evident (based on the tears) that teachers are missing their students.
Over years in the College, we have spent time developing collaborative skills and problem solving strategies that involve others in an individual’s learning and the classroom experience and learning is now dramatically different. Learning has been impacted by this change to schooling, but some points of perspective:
“It’s the same for everyone” (this is most important for students in Year 12 to remember)
“Everything” doesn’t depend on this time or this year
There are valuable lessons to learn right now – not so much about curriculum, but about faith, life and perspective. This is a season of growing wisdom. Learning happens all the time, based on input/problem, response, achievement/outcome and feedback. Right now, we are all learning new things about:
- Managing emotion
- Making time
- Taking time
Parents are also learning. As parents, we need to deny ourselves and model rational thinking, effective communication and emotional regulation for the sake of our children – it is hard! It is reasonable to say that it is impossible to “get it right” every time (certainly I have not with my four children at home) and so then I have the opportunity to model values of apology and restoration.
The most crucial element that brings confidence and hope in me is reflecting on Jesus. Jesus was socially distanced long before COVID-19 and while it was not the same as our experience, I am confident he understands our loss of connection and identity at the moment.
Jesus was betrayed by a close friend, was arrested on a ridiculous charge, had a crowd turn on him after they cheered for him five days earlier, had one of his best friends deny anything to do with him (three times), endured mocking, teasing and brutality and finally called out to God as if expressing that God was no longer near him – that is personal and complete social distancing that must have hurt!
Let us teach children what really matters; the values and attitudes that set them up for personal experiences, just as challenging as anything we may have faced, in their future. The answer is to depend on Jesus who has gone through more extreme circumstances than this and triumphed perfectly as we are reminded at Easter.