What a year 2020 has been. It’s triggered so much upheaval, especially for parents trying to guide children through these unprecedented times. It has been a lot. And while many of us are likely tempted to say “good riddance” to 2020, it’s actually provided some silver linings we wanted to take the time to share. These silver linings come in the form of profound lessons that can inform how we parent, and just exist as humans in this changing world.
Here are a few things this wild year has taught us.
How to adapt. One thing pretty much all parents can agree on is that 2020 has forced us to adapt in so many ways. We’ve adapted how our children are taught, how we work, how we connect with other humans, how we complete simple tasks, and the list goes on. We’ve had to shift almost every aspect of how we do life. And while that adaptation can initially feel frustrating, it has made us so much more adept at rolling with change. It’s like we all received 20-years of adaptation training in under 12-months. Moving forward, the changes we face will likely feel much less daunting, at least when compared to those of 2020.
How amazing teachers and care providers are. Let’s hear it for teachers and care providers! Most of us already suspected that these special people have an incredibly hard job, but virtual learning confirmed it. As we helped our children navigate the difficult endeavor of continuing their education amidst a pandemic, and consistently reminded them to pay attention to the virtual lesson their teacher was explaining (probably for the tenth time), many of us were struck by the fact that teaching, in so many ways, is a selfless act. Thanks 2020 for reminding us that teachers are pretty much superheroes.
How people are more important than work. Something else 2020 really drove home is how much more important our people are than our work. Before we were all forced to stay home, many of us jumped from one obligation to the next, rarely taking more than an hour or so every evening to really check in with those we care about. And then our work schedules were flipped on their heads, and we were suddenly getting so much togetherness with our families. While all this togetherness could sometimes feel tedious, it helped us remember how ultimately, what matters most is really our loved ones.
How crucial human connection is. I don’t know about you, but I will never again take a hug for granted. When we are one day able to safely embrace a friend, greet someone with a kiss on the cheek, or introduce ourselves with a handshake, it won’t go unappreciated. We’ll know that human connection is a privilege we should cherish.
How helpful financial planning can be. For many families, 2020 brought intense financial hardship. Lost jobs and reduced hours forced millions to apply for unemployment benefits, and left many unable to pay their rent or mortgage, and other bills. It has been a stark reminder to save money whenever possible, and make a plan for how we’ll get by if another period of financial struggle hits.
- How important it is to teach our children about racial equality. In addition to the pandemic, 2020 saw intense racial injustices, and resulting protests. This highlighted the importance of raising a new generation that is well informed about racial equality and understands how crucial it is to advocate for this equality. We shouldn’t wait for our children to learn about these issues on their own. 2020 has shown us that we need to become proactive in teaching our children why and how to become champions for equality.
In addition to reflecting on what 2020 has taught us, it can be inspiring to think on how it will inform life in 2021. Maybe we’ll commit to spending more uninterrupted time with our kids, or becoming more active at our child’s school. Maybe we’ll hug our loved ones a little longer, or become more engaged with civil rights organizations. Maybe we’ll notice more of the amazing aspects in life, and stop focusing on the frustrations we can’t change. Maybe we’ll look back and thank 2020 for its wellspring of inspiration.