There is no question 2020 was challenging in many ways. And those challenges are far from behind us. But it also provided a meaningful lesson… focus on what you CAN control.
Like many, last year was about resiliency, the ability to pivot and a degree of flexibility in how we live and work.
As a parent, there is a lot of pressure to raise good people. But what does this mean and how does it vary from person to person, family to family and circumstance to circumstance? Parenting is often about focusing on what matters most and using the lessons of life to reinforce these values. It’s about knowing when to given in and when to hold your ground. It’s about guidance and independence. It’s about setting an example and answering the tough questions.
And in 2020, there were a lot of tough questions and moments that left you without words.
How do you explain something that feels hard as an adult?
How do you make sense of moments that no one should have to experience or give voice to?
As 2021 continues to provide opportunities for learning and growth, I’m reminded of the need to focus on what you can control. This was a lesson that was reinforced again and again throughout 2020.
The hardest parts of parenting and life right now are not the lack of places to go and feelings of being trapped at home. Both of those are privileges that I feel lucky to have. The hardest part about parenting and life is managing all of the things that are completely out of my control. From remote learning to social distancing, a limited support system and the strong desire for change, so much of what is happening right now – in the world, in the country, in the state and in our homes – is completely out of our control. AND that is hard.
The media is exhausting and overwhelming. And no one needs more anxiety or overwhelm right now. Because there is plenty. Sometimes, you just have to shut off and focus on the now. The immediate, this moment, your personal values remind us what matters and what we can control.
For me this means…
Choosing to disengage when needed because I don’t have the words or mental capacity in the moment to make sense of all that is happening.
Letting go of the must dos in favor of down time and relaxation.
Doing what we can when it comes to distance learning, knowing there are valuable experiences happening outside the ‘classroom’ that will help fill the gaps of this strange time of learning.
It also means…
Doing what we can, when we can.
Being open and honest about what the state of the world… with ourselves, our children, friends and family, and the community at large.
Understanding and accepting what matters most.
Because when you do what you can and focus on what you can control, change is possible. And incremental progress is progress nonetheless.