My grandparents asked my kids if they were ready to go back to school. “Kinda’ ready,” my oldest replied, “but Mama is really ready for us to go back.”
I snickered. I am absolutely ready for them to be back in school. I want them to see their friends and get into a better routine. They have been so sad without the normalcy that school brings, not to mention driving me a little batty in the process.
But then I stopped and realized that nothing is normal right now. There is no regular school experience that will happen. The days of regular and normal may be a long-time coming for all of us. I do commend our school system for trying so hard to accommodate families in all situations and I cannot imagine how hard it is to be a teacher or administrator in the middle of all of this craziness that COVID-19 has caused.
My emotions are all over the place as my oldest begins fourth grade and my baby starts kindergarten next week. I’m so grateful that our little school has made a way for parents to walk these babies in for the first two days, because not only are they starting something brand new, but everybody is starting something brand new. How do teachers keep everyone safe? How do we navigate when we aren’t sure what this virus can and cannot do? Are we being too safe? Are we not safe enough? Is it even worth the time and effort it takes to alter all of these processes?
I don’t know the answers, but I feel a sadness for my kids. They are being raised in a time of such anxiety and fear. Their normal is nothing like our normal was as kids. Times are so politically tense right now. Racial divides are widening. Safety concerns and conspiracy theories abound. And whether we like it our not, our kids are caught right in the middle. They hear our rants. They pick up on our anger. They listen to the news and how we respond. They are forming and shaping their own little minds based off of one of the most unnormal times in our nation’s history. I just want to put them into a little protective bubble and hide them until it all goes away.
But will it go away? I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore. So, as school approaches, I pray. I pray for my kids and the other kids they will be around. I pray for their teachers who have such a passion for what they do and are trying their best to make it all work. I pray for our leaders and nation that we will be able to find a better normal really soon. I pray for the church that we will love others well and not hide out of fear, but be a voice of love, hope, and unity. And I pray for me, that God will help me be a good mom and make the best decisions for my kids and family. That he will help me see through the chaos and the noise and focus on what really matters.
I don’t want to look back at this season of strangeness and have any regrets for the way that I moved through it. There aren’t solid rights and wrongs, there is just the need to decide and do. That’s really all we can do right now. Make the best, informed decisions we can and go with them, making sure our motives are pure and our hearts are with us. I know I’m not alone in these emotions and thoughts, so let’s be sensitive and encourage each other right now. We are all trying to do the best we can in this season of strangeness. Let’s do it together and be mindful that we are in charge of shaping the minds of this next generation by how we respond. Do it well.