I am tasked this week with writing a blog. How can I write about anything? It seems selfish to write about anything I would normally decide to share while we are all going through a time of such great uncertainty. I am likely going to ramble on for the next few paragraphs just to get some of my thoughts on paper. It’s hard to think of anything else or be cohesive in a time where we all feel like what is next.
In social work, we have a term called collective disturbance. We are all experiencing the same event; albeit in different ways and responding in different ways.
I spent quite a few years in my last place of employment studying and implementing a trauma model of care.
“Occurrence of Collective Disturbances” in the psychiatric Hospital as a Small Society, 1958; Caudill, W. It talks about what happens during a period of time in a hospital and how patients, staff etc. dealt with a situation. It is worth a read as it has so many parallels as to how I see others reacting to our current situation in the United States.
I can remember other things that have collectively affected our nation and where I was, what I was doing when I found out and I can remember how I felt. I do not write this as to parallel other things we have gone through as a nation to the Covid 19 catastrophe. But, I thought about why I feel anxious and want to hoard food and toilet paper like a deranged lunatic. Why does this feel so scary and different?
I realize it is because now I have children. We are all going through some type of feelings in regards to this current pandemic. But, I had to figure out why I was really starting to panic. I was my own entity during other crises of our nation. But, now I have two children and I have to worry about their health and wellbeing. I feel a more intense sense of needing to protect them from being anxious about the uncertainty.
I know we are tasked with educating them at home while the district implements Learning from Home curriculums (by the way huge shout out to the Harrison Central School District for their handling of the school closures, setting up the systems needed for learning from home and making sure those students in need of food are going to be able to have their needs met. I cannot say how proud I am to be part of this community.
Can I tell you how terrible I am at math? I cannot even begin to describe what a debacle it would be if I had to teach my kids common core. I am thankful that for now I still have employment. I have had to have some real discussions about conserving electricity, food and not being able to buy or do certain things.
But, that means I have to trust that my kids will do all of the work assigned to them without me being on their ass. If anyone has teenagers you know how hard it is to get them to do their homework to begin with but, now we have to trust that they understand the importance of doing their work.
Day 1 – Home Schooling: I made it through! I got home and they both had all their work done, cleaned their rooms and were taking showers. (I am not sure to be proud or scared but, now I know they can do it, so now I am holding them to that standard).
I do not know what day 2 will bring. I do know that this will be a new normal for a little while.
The difficulty, all jokes aside, is not in the fact that we will have our kid’s home; but how this affects their immediate future and what far-reaching implications it has on their education.
I pray for those families who have kids with special services which cannot be implemented in their home in the same capacity. As we navigate this period of time lets be patient with one another. Check on your friends (they are not okay). A call, a text or a face time. Maybe share this task with our friends and family via electronic communication. I may be good at social studies and you are good at math- call on your friends for that help. Some of our kids receive a tremendous amount of support and direction in school. They have structure and last but, not least they will not have the social interaction which is an essential part of growth. Some of us will have to let up on our rules surrounding screen time or be a little lax with bedtimes.
I never realized how busy we were with practices, sports, shows, etc… I am going to take this time to slow down a little, to maybe clean out my house and reconnect with books.
I have watched as people attack one another on social media, continue to argue about politics and blame each other for our current predicament. I don’t want to read about blaming differing political parties for this pandemic. I do not want to hear people who are not epidemiologists telling us how we can or cannot get this virus.
I have also watched the very best of humanity.
I have watched neighbors help neighbors, drop off food and toilet paper for the elderly. I have watched someone let people go ahead of them online at the supermarket or help someone to carry their bags to their car.
I hope that all this craziness, the hoarding, the sold-out supermarkets, the social isolating is something we can look back on and say wow we overreacted! But, if it means it saved lives it will clearly be worth the inconveniences we have to bear at this time. Let’s go back to a time when we had respect for one another, kindness goes a long way.
Info@nywolf.org; Wolf Conservation Society; will give online classes for free
www.kidsoutandabout.com ; free resources
www.scholastic.com; Free reading materials
Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking. She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager. When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.