15 Apr Message from the Head of School April 15th
Dear Super-Parents of TCS,
Lots of news today indicating that we may be in for a longer haul with Coronavirus than we first thought. While this may not be a surprise, it can still be frustrating and fear-inducing. Governor Lee announced today that public schools across the state will be closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. We have not finalized a decision yet about The Covenant School. There is other data and input that needs to be considered, but I assure you that we will be communicating our plans to you soon.
I read a statistic today that over 50% of Americans believe the coronavirus and resulting quarantine has negatively affected their mental health. Now, nobody called me to ask me about my mental health, but my answer would have been, “it depends on the day.” Most days, I have a “can-do” courageous spirit and I’m excited for the challenges to come. Other days I just want to stay in bed and pretend I don’t have a job, absolutely no marketable skills whatsoever. Thankfully, days are few. I might even say that it depends on the hour.
What about you? Does your emotional health fluctuate, depending on forces such as your child’s mood, the ups and downs of the stock market, the ebbs and flows of your work life? All of this is certainly understandable. I want to take a moment to remind you of a great BIG Truth. There is nothing wrong with you. You get to have bad hours, bad days, bad months. What we’re going through feels impossible, because it is impossible, and not because you are lacking in some way.
I was in a Zoom discussion yesterday with a children’s counselor who was helping parents think through the difficult moments when their children are misbehaving, resistant, or otherwise melting down. She talked about “shark music moments” – those moments when you can feel the tension growing and you can almost hear “duna . . . duna . . duna, duna, duna . . .” and you know that somebody (maybe you) is about to lose their minds. Our family ecosystems can be a little fragile these days, and we need to be sure that our own needs are being met so we can pay proper attention to the children.
What does “self-care” look like in quarantine? In a world of no mani-pedis, no spa experiences, no going to the gym, no retail therapy at the mall – how do we go about taking care of ourselves. I will be the first to admit that the whole “self-care” thing often escapes me. So, let’s start simple. Move your body. Don’t skimp on good sleep. Try to eat your veggies. But beyond these, there are a few specific times in which we truly need to stop what we’re doing and take care.
- After a particularly difficult episode between members of the family: Parents have the maturity to recognize when to intervene to stop an unnecessarily hurtful or emotional situation from escalating. Oftentimes we are right in the middle of the situation and possibly escalating it ourselves. Parents can model a healthy response to frustration and anger, stepping away from the situation, possibly leave the room, take a walk and get to better emotional footing before re-entering the conversation. Children learn so much more from our modeling our ideals than from our talking about them.
- After a day or two of the blues: Adults are more self-aware than children are able to be. It’s important for you – either alone or with your spouse – to take your own emotional temperature. Noticing that you’re not doing well is often difficult, especially when you are in a care-taking role and those around you need a lot of care. But nobody benefits from you ignoring your own emotional needs. Nobody.
When you’re ready to pay a little more attention to yourself – attention that will benefit your entire family – try a few of these.
I have begun to look forward to watching each episode of John Krasinski’s SGN (Some Good News) YouTube broadcast. He’s on Episode 3 now (I think), but every episode has lifted my spirits and made me feel a part of a bigger picture of what God is doing in this world.
Not to belabor the obvious, but you need to breathe. I’m a big believer in taking the time to do some intentional breathing. Try this 5-minute breathing exerciseand see how it makes you feel.
Cooking as an activity, and not just because you have to, is a highly therapeutic activity. Cooking can be a multi-sensory and even a physical endeavor. It also gives one a sense of accomplishment, especially if it’s something you haven’t tried before. Here’s an article with more details.
Have your go-to Scriptures on some note cards or in a journal so that when you have to put yourself in time-out, you have some Truth to read that will sharpen your focus for what’s really important. Here’s one such source to get you started.
It’s going to be alright. Of this I am sure. There will be bumps ahead, but we will weather them together, I promise. We have a God whose care for us is without measure and whose strength is always sufficient. He has gifted our community in myriad ways, so let’s love one another well in response.
Grateful to and for you,
And in other news . . . we’re having a TCS HomeSafe Selfie challenge!! So start talking with the kiddos about how you want to represent your family. The Sullivans were going for a Knives Outscene – looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Just text them to Christy Johnson.