What are they feeling in this COVID-19 Isolation?
Working with and observing children is one of the highlights and blessings of my life. They bring the whole world into perspective! Like many of you, I’ve thought a lot about what they are experiencing during this COVID-19 lockdown. I’ve decided to write a few blog posts about my observations made from a safe distance. This first post includes three observations I’ve made while watching children in my neighborhood. I’ve observed three basic needs of children right now: the need to be heard in the outside world, the need to be taught by example, and the need to feel safe and to talk through feelings about scary things.
The need to be heard
I was dreading the long hill in the middle of my run. Completely distracted by this thought, I looked up the hill and saw a small boy, wearing a dashing mohawk helmet, speeding on his scooter down towards me! I quickly retreated to the street to practice social distancing and to save us both from a crash. He stopped as I ran by, and I gave him a wave. Much to my astonishment, he held out his hand in a stop right now motion. I stopped and turned to look at him. “My name is James. I’m riding my blue scooter today. That’s my mom and brother up the hill. I live at that house down there!” he blurted out before I could say a thing. He needed to be heard from someone in the outside world. He needed to share his world and be noticed. “I really like your blue scooter and your cool mohawk helmet,” I replied with a smile. He gave me a big smile, and off he went. So many times, teachers are where children go to share their inside world with the outside world. Now they need to find new avenues, like the lady running up the hill.
The need to be taught by example
Mowing lawns has become a much more desirable chore since COVID-19 isolation began. It gives us a valid excuse to get out, get some exercise, and do something productive. It occurred to me that a positive outcome of COVID-19 might be a world of beautiful yards. On yet another run, I observed something more important than a beautiful yard—a child being taught by example. A young mother was out in her shorts mowing her large lawn, and right behind her was a darling toddler following her with his lawn mower. I asked if I could take their picture because it made my heart melt to see the example she was setting for her son. She was teaching him that life goes on. We work together when things are rough, and we can make the world more magnificent by doing our part. Thank you to all the parents out there being great examples to your children.
The need to feel safe and talk through feelings
“Miss Wendy! Miss Wendy! A big hawk just ate a dove on your driveway!” our darling young neighbor called out to me as I walked by. It wasn’t what I expected as I came down the street to head home. I actually never really know what to expect when this sweet girl calls out my name. She captures my heart with her big blue eyes, blonde flowing hair, and a smile that lights up the whole world. Everything in the world excites her, and she loves to talk about it! She was sitting with her dad out in their driveway together, just enjoying one-on-one time out in the warm sun. He was there, just sitting by her and letting her express this horrid scene that had apparently transpired on my driveway. He would smile and fill in a few details, but she got to be the one to tell the story. “It was scary and then so sad. There is even blood in your driveway!” she continued, as she picked up her little horse and went back to playing. Parents are having more opportunities to just be with their children, to listen, and to let them express feelings they might never know their children had.
COVID-19 will bring many outcomes. Please continue to bless your children through allowing them to be heard, being good examples, and letting them express their feelings during these trying times.