July 24, 2020

Dear Overly Opinionated Parents, Mind your Manners & Don’t be an Ass.

So here we are in late July of 2020. 

Our kids haven’t been to school in like a million days. The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging across the country and the world. People are fighting over wearing masks (please don’t get me started on this), and parents have to decide what to do for their kids’ schooling in the fall.

Do we send our kids back to school in person, or go virtual?

Everyone seems to have an opinion (and a strong one at that).

Parents: I know this is a massive decision for us all (assuming your district provides options, hopefully). A choice that we aren’t taking lightly. One that we are researching and continuously weighing the pros and cons of. One that we may be feeling guilt over. “If I send them back, am I sending them into a cesspool of coronavirus?”

Conversely, “If I keep them home, am I paranoid and depriving them of the social aspect, and maybe putting them in an academic disadvantage?” 

Maybe you have a hybrid situation, in-person and online. At this moment, no one has the 100 percent right solution, and we shouldn’t expect them to. There is so much uncertainty right now. Cases are going up in most states, contained in others. I mean, who knows what it will look like come time for school start. And we are supposed to decide now? Ugh. Am I right?

This is uncharted territory, and people are freaking the f*ck out. (Which I understand.)

The only thing that is for certain is that parents, teachers, and administrators have a lot on their minds and hearts. We need to show empathy and compassion to each other, our teachers, and our administrators. 

Could you imagine having to come up with plans on how to keep thousands of precious lives safe in your school district? I’m an intense planner and a bit of a control freak, and I certainly couldn’t. Nor would I want to. This is not the job that teachers, principals, or superintendents signed up for. But here we all are.  

I implore anyone reading this to keep in mind that everyone is genuinely doing the best they can with the information and resources they have. Be considerate of each other and of the different obstacles we all face. 

It boils down to this: Be a good human. 

Don’t shame other families for their decisions. Don’t slam educators for the million things that they should have or could have been doing or planning for this upcoming year. 

Again: Everyone is doing their best right now. 

Show up with empathy, an open mind and heart, and some respect. We can have differences in thoughts or opinions, but that doesn’t negate respecting each other and some human decency. Seriously, there’s enough crap going on in our world.

Now more than ever, our kids are watching us. 

How are we showing up for them? 

Are we making them feel safe and loved in whatever environment they will be learning in? 

If we are anxious and pissy, they will be too. If we are thoughtful and kindhearted, they will follow suit. Be an example for them. These are the moments they need us the most.

I’m not going to tell you what the right choice is and the wrong one because that simply doesn’t exist for the masses. There is only right or wrong for your family, given your circumstances. No judgment here at all. 

I encourage you to make that decision out of love and not out of fear—our best decisions come from a place of love. 

But just to clarify, that is not meant to sway anyone one way or another.

Now, let me just say that I basically had made up my mind on what I was going to do with my two elementary-aged kids. But I thought, this is their life, so let’s see how they feel about it. I explained both options to them in detail (in-person and virtual), and they shared with me what they are comfortable with and what they would like to do. 

They just so happened to agree with me, but since I’m their mom and I had a general idea of what they would like, I considered that when I decided. But I wanted them to know their opinion mattered, and that they were heard. I consider that a parenting win; I think my therapist would agree with me there.

Good luck to all the parents, teachers, administrators, and our students. This fall is going to be messy. There’s no possible way around it. No way to make everyone happy. 

Keep doing the best you can, keep showing kindness, keep being great examples for these kids, and we will all get through this the best we can.

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