As parents, we are certainly navigating uncharted territory right now in light of the global situation we are facing due to the coronavirus. We all want to do what’s best for our children and our families. We’re all confused and scared. That being said, we can use this time as an opportunity to teach our children to be independent thinkers and to not follow into this downward spiral of fear that is spreading so rapidly.
As mothers, we know that children learn by what we teach them – but even more so, by what we show them. Therefore, we must model the thinking patterns and behaviors that we wish to instill in our children to best cope with uncertainty. So, what should we do?
First of all, I believe we need to express gratitude. Let’s take the time to say thank you to the doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and all those continuing to go to work every day in the hospitals and doctor’s offices, possibly risking their own health, to help everyone else. Say thank you to the employees of the grocery stores having to work additional hours restocking shelves due to panic buying. Thank you to the teachers and staff at all of our schools for working overtime to create a distance learning program for our children so they may continue to be educated through this crisis. We can do this with our children by thanking these individuals in person, through writing cards, drawing pictures, or sending emails. We can show our children that there is always something and someone to be grateful for each day, especially in times of uncertainty or crisis.
Secondly, we need to remind ourselves and our children that we have all been blessed with a mind of our own. In times like these, it’s time to use it. The rapid spreading of mass panic that we’re currently experiencing is not helpful on any level. Yet I’m observing the majority of the population globally following down this rabbit hole of fear. Yes, it is easier to be a follower. But we want better for our children. So, let’s teach them to think independently of others. Show our children how we can educate and inform ourselves of the facts. We can seek the truth as opposed to following mass fear-based thinking, speculation, and catastrophizing. Uncertainty and doubt are a natural part of our daily lives – virus or no virus. The coronavirus has simply highlighted this fact in a very acute way. So do we teach our children to move into fear and panic in times of crisis? Or instead, take the time to focus on facts, not fear. Practice patience instead of panic. In every moment, we can choose our thoughts and our actions. Choose wisely and rationally.
Thirdly, let’s make an effort to teach compassion. This challenging time can be used as an opportunity to come together, think on a higher level, and show kindness to each other. Let’s offer support and empathy to those who need it. Let’s replace our fear with compassion and love by asking ourselves how we can help those who are truly at risk. Personally, I will be going to the grocery store today to buy supplies – not for my family, but to help the elderly and immunocompromised in our neighborhood who are rightfully self-quarantined for their own safety and wellbeing. I will drop the groceries on their doorstep in an attempt to help and show kindness to those who need it most right now.
Together, as mothers in this great community we share, we can help each other stay centered and treat each other with grace because, after all, we are all in this together. Let’s use this moment in time to elevate ourselves and our children. Teach and model gratitude, independent thinking, and compassion for others. Let’s be the light in this time of darkness. You can’t calm the storm through panic and fear. What you can do is calm yourself so that you may think and act objectively and rationally. The storm will pass on its own.
Valerie is a full-time working mom who lives in Fairfield with her husband, two beautiful and intelligent daughters, Gillian (2005) and Miranda (2010), and a menagerie of rescue pets, including 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 guinea pigs. Raising compassionate, confident, and highly conscious children is her priority as a mother. Valerie is also a leader in the Fairfield Real Estate Market. She is a Realtor who specializes in successfully listing and selling properties. She strives to provide her clients with unparalleled excellence in personalized professional service and achieve the goals they desire with innovation, integrity, and compassion. In her free time, Valerie enjoys reading, playing outside with her girls and pets, and dancing to country music! As a Realtor, she enjoys the flexibility of managing her own schedule so that she can volunteer at school whenever possible.