What Lessons Will Our Children Learn From COVID19. And Will They Be Useful Ones?

I’ve mostly resisted the online tech conversations around “COVID will change [X] forever,” although I do especially love the ones which are basically tells for the individual’s true id (“i think post-COVID, polyamory is going to be really popular”). BUT I have dived deeply into the parenting conversations around “what is this doing to our kids?”

Obviously – as with all things with child-rearing – there’s no consensus. No one’s situation is exactly the same – a high school senior who just had their prom and graduation canceled is going to be different than a kindergartener who likely won’t remember any aspect, at least of this spring. Of course a family where someone has been laid off, or even worse, are dealing with the grief of losing a family member or close friend, may never be able to forget April 2020.

Personally I’m trying to treat this as an opportunity for my elementary school child. An opportunity to talk about our family coming together to keep one another, and our community, healthy. An opportunity to reinforce values of citizenship and leadership. An opportunity to nag about hygiene habits, creativity and self-instruction.

But each of these are on a spectrum. Go too far and I risk raising a fearful child, who loses her love of travel, OCDs about the last time she washed her hands and has difficulty attaching to others. And this is coming from a dad who defines “success” as my daughter eventually goes to therapy for something less serious than the reasons her parents do (ie I don’t believe you raise “perfect” children; you raise loved and resilient children).

So I begin each day, or week, and ask myself ‘what lessons do I want our daughter to take away from this week?” Plus ‘what lessons *might* she take away that I don’t want her to learn?” And then we do our best.