Have you thought of how much you and your children/pupils have adapted and grown in 2020-2021? We all adjusted to the hundreds of changes brought about by the covid-19 pandemic and the concurrent socio-political events. The pandemic is not over, and is rampaging in some parts of the world. Yet, most of us have navigated the most challenging phase and have made the mayor adjustments to a new way of life as individuals, as families, and as communities. That deserves a celebration!
As Bruce Feiler writes regarding transitions that interrupt the flow of one’s life, “The difference between success and failure—between a life of fulfillment and a life of frustration—is how you manage the challenge of making meaning in your life.” (Life is in the Transitions, 2020). We can reframe the past few months as a successful experience by recounting the many lessons learned, the new skills and the new perspectives we gained from this extended challenging time.
Children make sense of difficult experiences by integrating them in a congruent manner within the narrative of their lives, with the assistance of loving adults to strengthen the “me-wee connection” (See Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson’s The Whole Brain Child, 2012). Having simple family celebrations is a way of re-telling our life narratives in more positive light. A celebration can be a simple as creating photo albums/slide shows, play lists of uplifting songs, charades of important family events, scrap books, memes, home-made videos of top-ten funny moments, awards for most adaptable player, best sense of humor… you name it!
What is very unique about our recent past, is that we did not undergo an individual transition, but instead a collective transition. We turned to our families and our “bubbles” for collective coping. Our sense of belonging and connection became more central than ever for our safety and wellbeing.
As parents and professionals, we have a unique opportunity to help our children make sense of these stormy years by celebrating and highlighting the silver lining.