“This is one crazy ride,” my son said to me. “One day I’ll be talking to my kids about what things were like during the pandemic.” “What will you tell them?” I asked. “That depends.” He said, as he left the room. He didn’t tell me what he thought it depended on, but it sure got me thinking.
I started to wonder how my sons are viewing the pandemic. Then on a larger scale, I thought about this generation of young children, and how their experiences and memories of this time in history are being shaped by adult attitudes, choices and behaviors. And if I’m being honest, I felt disheartened. But my attitude changed somewhat over the weekend.
On Thursday, I was featured on the Soar to Success Summit. It’s an online professional development conference for early childhood educators. Teachers from around the globe tuned in to watch sessions. My favorite aspect of the conference was a discussion feed where participants could comment on sessions, provide feedback, ask questions and network.
The energy and excitement evident in the discussion feed was incredible. As I continually read and responded to participants, I didn’t think about the pandemic, economy, politics, concerns about my voice and the polyp, or the future. I was immersed in the positivity and encouragement radiating from this group of teachers. I feel certain if this energy could be harnessed, we could power a small nation.
I’ve been surrounded by young children through my work for the past seventeen years, and they have always positively impacted my emotional state and behaviors by their pure joy and wonder. Now that I’m retired, I look back on those years favorably because they shaped my memories and experiences, accordingly. And if three, four and five-year-olds can have that kind of impact on me, imagine what kind of positive imprint we can leave on them by doing the same.
The reality is that there are a lot of obstacles we are facing as we move into the new school year – but how we view the challenges and approach them will go a long way in shaping the memories of a whole generation of kids. I, for one, am going to do what I can to make sure those memories include looking for the good and highlighting the hope. It’s there – I’m certain of it. And thanks to the Soar to Success participants for the reminder.
Before you watch this, you need to know, music and youth both regularly melt my heart. Put them together, and I’m defenseless.