We all are facing challenges of uncertainty at this time. Uncertainty generates fear, anxiety, frustration, and bewilderment.
How do we face these challenges in different areas of our life?
Children are struggling in schools, teachers are struggling in classrooms, parents are struggling between work and taking care of their children, small business owners are worrying about how to run their business, and lots of folks are worried about how to survive without jobs and without health care.
We all are experiencing chronic stress.
- Simplification. Simplification is about relaxing our standards to a level appropriate for the situation.
- Acceptance. Remember The Serenity Prayer: “ God grant me the serenity to Accept things I cannot change; Courage to change things I can; and Wisdom to know the difference.” Accepting things as they are under these unusual times is wise choice making. As parents we accept the reality of distance learning or hybrid learning.
- Setting priorities. Recognizing, sorting out, and accepting priorities without grumbling or complaining. As parents our priorities are helping our child to do homework if necessary and helping our child to learn how to manage his mental and emotional stress. And how to take care of our work and our stress. These are competing priorities. We need to strike a balance between the two.
- Expectations. Our expectations need to be realistic. We do not expect us to deliver things we are not capable of delivering and the same standard applies to having expectations of others in our life. Our expectations need to be tailored to the changing times. Academic learning is secondary. Creating safety, belonging and connection, creating a calm environment and helping our children to cope with the ongoing stress is our priority.
- Simplify our to-do list. Let us ask ourselves: “ What is the one thing I need to do? What is the one thing I need to let go of?” Try to shorten your to-do list and expand your “not-to-do” list. Notice how much energy we can save by making wise choices.
- Start the day with some positive appreciation or gratitude. When you feel gratitude as your day begins, your whole day is primed for looking for other positive things.
- Keep calm and structured. If you Google to get an answer to your question ,“How to help my kid?” The first suggestion will be to create a schedule. When we create a relatively flexible schedule and routine with the collaboration of our child, it creates a sense of calmness and steadiness. Create a daily schedule not only for academic work but also for creating a time for play, connection, exercise, and fun activities. Do not forget to get your child involved in creating a schedule. Let him know and feel that his voice matters.
- Provide modeling. Parent’s stress trickles down to child’s stress. Children observe us and learn from us. It is important to provide good modeling to our children. Remember Mahatma Gandhi’s advice: “ Be the change you want to have in the world.”
- Shift from “What if” to “what is.” Delete the “f” and make it “s”. Examples: “What if my child gets the coronavirus?” My child does not have the coronavirus now. My child is coronavirus free. “ What if I lose my job?” The fact is you do have a job right now. “What if” mindset creates anxiety and apprehension. “What is” mindset creates calmness and serenity. We need to learn to make wise choices. Learn not to arrive before you arrive.
- Information and transformation. Information is useful, but if we do not apply it and practice it, it has not much value.
Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
I would like to conclude this article by contemplating on my beloved prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
Lord make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Dr. JP Davé
About the Author:
As a member of our iTeam, Dr. Jagdish P. Davé , Ph.D., Psy.D. is a consultant, counselor, and educator at DGM. Dr. Davé also teaches Science of Happiness to our Middle School students while integrating mindfulness into all areas of the curriculum.