Things overheard in my house last week:
“Why do you breathe like that?”
“You’re sitting in my spot!”
“Just because we’re quarantined, you cannot eat cookies for breakfast…oh, I don’t care, just don’t get crumbs on the couch!”
“Why are you RUNNING? Stop running in the house!”
“Stop it…stop that…stop what you’re doing…stop talking…stop yelling!…stop crying…stop snacking…stop procrastinating…stop hogging the tablet…stop watching that ridiculous show…stop, stop…STOP!”
If there’s one word that’s been over-used these past weeks, it’s the word “stop.” I am constantly telling my dear, sweet family to stop doing one thing or another. Whether they’re screaming (gleefully!) while I’m on a conference call, or holding someone’s head in the shower, or texting at 2a.m., I find myself constantly saying, “Stop!”
My patience, dear reader, is wearing thin. However, my patience is a character trait that should be going into overdrive during this very strange, very odd time.
My friend Kim, the absolute paragon of patience, has gone so far as to call this time in our history “The Gift of Pause.” She is constantly posting questions on Twitter like, “What have you discovered about yourself during The Gift of Pause?” I’ve discovered that I can go days – DAYS – wearing the same yoga pants and hoodie. But in all seriousness, I’ve discovered that the very act of reframing this time…from a burden to a gift…is perhaps the most effective tool in my arsenal for coping with the hours and days when they seem to get monotonous. If I can exercise patience, and realize that I’ve never had this kind of time with the people I love…and may never get this kind of time with them again…I will come out on the other side of this happier and perhaps even refreshed. Using Kim’s words, I need to reframe my constant repetition of “Stop!” into a moment of pause. I need to pause before I holler…is there something more productive I could say? Are the behaviors my family is exhibiting masking something else? Can I be patient, and pause, and find something kinder and more loving to communicate?
Patience is a character trait we work diligently to instill in our Cornerstone students. Patience with their friends, with their frustrations, with their schoolwork, with themselves. We look for opportunities to remind them that exercising patience, and not giving in to “knee-jerk” reactions to frustrations, is better for everyone. It keeps minor frustrations from becoming major frustrations, and it helps to mitigate conflict.
I am reminded that if I can just give myself a moment to pause, rather than demanding that others “stop,” I give myself the opportunity to reframe the moment. I have the opportunity to give myself, and my family, a true gift.
Readers, we know that this time creates situations and frustrations like nothing we’ve experienced before. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your school or to our administrative team if there is anything you need that can make this time go more smoothly for you and your family.
Here are some links that may be helpful in coping with different aspects of our time in quarantine.
Beating Anxiety and staying Calm during the Coronavirus: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/13/how-to-stay-calm-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-anxiety-relief-tips.html
Tips for Staying Calm during the Coronavirus: https://nypost.com/2020/03/18/staying-calm-during-coronavirus-therapists-share-their-personal-stress-busting-tips/
Talking to Your Kids about the Coronavirus Calmly: https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/
Tips for Working from Home during the Outbreak: https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/3/25/21193142/coronavirus-covid-19-kids-work-from-home-child-care-school-cancellations