These words from my daughter’s preschool director really resonated with me. I’ve been struggling this year to determine if I should send our daughter to kindergarten in the fall. Even before COVID hit, I always thought we’d hold her because she’s a late birthday. Throw in the “lost” year of learning, and it seemed like we’d be pushing her too fast.
It’s not just my preschooler I’ve been worried about this year. It’s my first and third graders. Yes, I worry to some extent about lost instruction time. Luckily, my kids are still young, and I know that can catch up quickly. Instead, I worry about the bigger losses that have come through lost social time, lost face to face interaction, lost playtime, and lost celebrations.
I love the shift in focus my director gave me in just two little sentences. We don’t need to worry that our kids have lost a year. Instead, we can focus on all the good that’s come out of redirecting our expectations.
Our kids have learned invaluable lessons about handling disappointments, adapting to different learning styles, and adjusting to new schedules. They’ve learned how to be flexible and optimistic when plans suddenly changed. They’ve learned how to be creative by making do with all they have at home and outside. They’ve learned to live in the moment and have found joy in little things that they used to take for granted.
In the process of adapting to so many unexpected, scary, and disappointing changes, our kids have learned more than an “ordinary” year would have given them. They’ve learned to redirect a whole year to find the strength and joy inside themselves.
That’s something we all can celebrate.