• Kerry Leppier

How to Face 'Back to School' in 2020

Back to school has never felt so strange. Giant queue's for Clarks, different drop off times, bubbles. We know that school won't be like it was, there are no soft furnishings, less play things, less people, more hand washing, more masks.

Nonetheless, we must face it. And if we must face it, let us be prepared, fearless -- and honest.

Be Honest

When Coronavirus presented itself to the world it was (and largely still is) painted as the "invisible deadly killer" by our media. The same media then printed photo's of empty food shelves blaming it on the selfishness of people. Since then we have been subjected constantly to conflicting "news", graphs, death toll numbers etc.

Almost all of us have largely stuck to the rules, with the media once again printing busy beaches and unmasked protests.

How can we fight this barrage of blame and lies? How do we minimise the confusion? With honesty.

Be honest about how Covid19 is affecting you. Be honest about how you feel, the mistakes you've made, the fear you've experienced, the judgements you've made. Why is honesty so important? Because honesty is what binds us. It's what makes us different to the media and dare I say to the government. Honesty sets us apart and sets us up for genuine connection with one another. Honesty is a great example to our children. Honesty is the first step towards emotional healing. Honesty brings more calm. Honesty is empowering.

So as we prepare to send our children back to school or nursery, be honest; with yourself, with others, with teachers and with your kids.

And Be Fearless

Being honest is being brave. But there are other ways you can be fearless. Trusting other people (like the amazing teachers) is brave. For most of us we've had sole charge of our kids for the last 6 months so giving them over to someone else's care can be scary. But if you're sending them in, do so fearlessly. Be brave. They are gonna be cared for and they are gonna be OK.

Sending children to school when we're still living through a global pandemic is scary... Be brave. Educate yourself with the facts and if you're comfortable then stand by your decision with confidence and courage.

Sometimes it won't feel right to send them in, be fearless in doing what's right for your family.

Other people will be doing and believing things differently to you; be brave in standing by your own beliefs, be fearless of other peoples judgements.

Some people won't be sending their children back, facing more time at home, perhaps permanent home schooling. Be fearless in your stepping away and doing what's right for your family.

And Be Prepared

School is going to be different. Find out how and prepare yourself and your children. Speak about it, ask them questions, let them ask you questions. And listen to them, they might not be afraid even if you are; try not to project your fear onto them.

Remind them that amongst the changes, there are things that have - and will - remain: the care the teachers have for them, the friendships they had and have. Remind them how loved they are, that your love goes way beyond the school gates. And when it's time to pick them up, do so with a smile, open arms and ears to listen.

It's one thing to be prepared with shoes, clothes, a lunchbox and bag (of which we've bought none!) but it's another thing to be prepared mentally and emotionally. If you're not ready, if you're anxious about it, try to examine why. If your child doesn't feel ready to go back then explore the possible reasons together.

Being prepared isn't being organised, it's being open to your feelings. It's about being honest about those feelings and being fearless in sharing them.

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