We are in a state of change
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved the fall. The changing leaves, the crisp air, but mostly because of the back to school season. Fall holds the excitement of new backpacks, new teachers, and new classmates, while also keeping the comfort of old friends and old routines. This familiarity of change leads us to prepare for our new year of learning and growing.
This is not quite the case this year. As school starts, I am struggling to find the familiar; instead, I am often met with the unknown and its corresponding anxiety. Whether our children are learning from our living rooms, or off to school with facemasks, we as a community are entering a very different fall season. And it is not easy.
We are struggling. At least a lot of us are. We are faced with tough decisions, without any clear right or wrong answer. We are searching for solutions that will support our families, our schools, our communities. We all have important and valuable opinions, thoughts, and feelings. And despite the whirlwind of emotions, we can feel very stuck. To move forward, I am finding it helpful to remember what this season truly means to me.
As a child psychologist, as a mother, and as a forever student, autumn represents new goals and new ways to develop as a person. School symbolizes skills and core concepts of mathematics, reading, and writing, of course. However, there are so many valuable things we gain from our school experience. We learn how to build relationships and communicate with others. We learn how to express, as well as listen to, different points of view. We learn how to build independent skills and responsibility. We learn how to be confident and acknowledge our own self-worth.
With an open mind and some creativity, we can continue to work on these goals. Closed classrooms and covered faces do not stop us from learning. We can find ways to move forward and keep growing, even in these new circumstances.
So how do we embrace the unknown?
How do we find the familiar?
How do we keep learning and growing?
Perhaps that is where we can each take a moment to think about what makes for a successful year and we can work to set our own meaningful goals. Whether we are college students searching for social connections, school children scheduling some structure, or just people calming the chaos of daily life, we can (safely and respectfully) find those familiar pieces that put our puzzles back together. And then, maybe, we can focus on entering a different, but still important year of learning.
–Dr. Danielle Romano