I want to acknowledge each and every one of you: from single parents, co-parents in two households, alone parents, to couples stuck in small apartments with four kids, every possible parent-child combination receives my heartfelt applause. You are living through an unusual, chaotic, constantly changing reality. How has the lock down been for you? Are you sequestered with a child, or several? Are you suddenly asked to be a teacher? Or, as you read this, are you alone?
On HPR I heard a former Surgeon General talk about solitude and loneliness. He said that over his years as a physician he had come to realize that loneliness is a hidden root of many illnesses. So how have you fared while sheltering-in-place? Have you experienced a range of emotions? Has being 24/7 with the kids been triggering for you? At times did you feel deeply lost, alone or do you feel okay?
Every one of us has probably gone through a whole range of reactions. You are hereby forgiven! This is momentous, a never before experience. Be kind to yourself. Reach out if you need help or need someone to talk to. Although we are physically separated by the mandated six feet, we are all connected by the reality that we are all together on this one magnificent planet. Mother Earth is healing, often in unseen ways. I am told there is no smog over Hong Kong and the sky is clear above Beijing. Let’s be alert and give our gratitude to any positive events, no matter how small. I am filled with admiration how Maui residents have risen to this challenge. The Farmers with drop off food delivery and CSA boxes, the County with food distribution sites, the hundreds of people making masks, volunteers making and distributing meals for the homeless, and the list goes on.
I want to share an exercise I believe can help families during these trying times. I learned it from my teacher, Pam Leo, author of Connection Parenting. It is called the Three R’s, Rewind, Repair and Replay. Example: There is an upset. You were triggered and yelled at your child for some unwanted behavior (e.g. leaving toys all over the place). You feel badly. Rewind: Make a statement of apology, “Let’s go back to when I said “so and so.” Repair: I made a mistake – I was feeling frustrated because I have asked you several times to pick up your toys. Replay: “Let’s start over and work out a solution. What will work for both of us? With the emphasis in listening, work out a solution both calmly and respectfully.
Today collectively we have an unprecedented opportunity to Reset. Let’s do the repair with heart and wisdom as we move forward, while remembering to be gentle on ourselves and reaching out when we need support.