Here we go again. Another school year coming full of unanswered questions. How bad will this get? Will we be in masks all year? Or at some point? Will schools completely shut down again and (gulp) the dreaded online schooling show back up?
Literally thinking about all of that brings a pit to my stomach. Guys, I am just not sure I can handle going through all of this again. I don’t want to!
But, I realize it is also something that I cannot control right now. Sure, I could jump on one side or the other and fight for what I believe in – attempt to make a difference. But, honestly, I don’t have the willpower or time for that. And frankly, complaining about it constantly does nothing to help the situation.
In fact, what I noticed more than ever is that there are little ears listening and mimicking our reactions to this entire situation. Seriously, I have met some children who are so outraged about wearing or not wearing a mask, that they cannot possibly be enjoying the glory years of just being a kid.
After the craziness of the last year and a half, my babies have already had to learn and deal with some grown-up things. And I certainly don’t want to be the one dumping more worries on them. So, when we recently went back to wearing masks at work, I pulled out my masks, put one on and didn’t make a big deal about it.
Because, in their lives, there are going to be plenty of things out of their control – times where they cannot whine their way through it – where they have to figure out how to manage the situation. And I am not talking about harmful situations where they need to fight for change. I am talking about times where it really just is what it is and they have to accept it.
And my hope is that they realize that if they cannot control the situation around them, that they can still control their attitude about it. As the wonderful Maya Angelou said, “if you don’t like something, change it. If you cannot change it, change your attitude.”
Before bed this week, I started talking to my girls about what we may expect this school year. Together, we discussed that masks are mandatory on the bus – which to my surprise, they already knew. (Neighborhood kids beat me to it). Then we talked about how masks are optional at school for now but may become mandatory as well.
Because of so many unknowns (and being in a situation somewhat the same these last few years), I told them that it is even possible that they could get sent home and have to deal with the meanest teacher of all – me – which they of course giggled at.
Then, Maylie went on shrieking in excitement that she could not wait to find out who her teacher was, and Reagan was ecstatic that, at least for now, she didn’t have to wear a mask all of the time. And that was that.
Do they want to wear masks? No. Do they want to keep a distance from their peers? Nope. Do they want to potentially be taught by the crazy lady who lives with them and absolutely is not a good teacher? No way.
But they also know that it is where we are today and there is nothing that can change it. Complaining to my children (or around them) about how awful it is that we have to wear masks at all or how irresponsible it is that we are not wearing masks all the time, only teaches them to have a negative attitude toward situations around them that they cannot control.
Yes, we are all over the fact that this is still lingering, that people are again getting sick, that our babies again have to go back to masks. And while it stinks that we are going through this again, we have the opportunity, this time, to teach our kids how to deal with adversity in the way that they manage their attitudes.
Even thinking about going through what we went through and it possibly coming back again makes me want to go into a full-blown feet-stomping tantrum. But honestly, what good does that do? Teaching my kids to complain about things they can’t control does absolutely nothing for the issue at hand.
Because at times in life, they are going to be dealt an awful hand. Regardless, those are their cards to play. They may as well show up with their game faces on and an unstoppable positive attitude. Winning isn’t always actually reflected in the score, instead it is often calculated in the way that they handle their attitude while playing the hand in front of them.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.