Resiliency. I’m a Spanish speaking person and to be honest, I didn’t know the meaning of this word until recently and had never heard ‘resiliencia’ in Spanish, since this is a word that is not commonly used in conversations, but found in personal growth articles. However, I learned the meaning of this word without the need to translate it. Over and over, when I talk with friends about going back to classes this school year, the word resiliency is used to represent everything that kids can teach us.
If I go to a dictionary, the word resiliency is described as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness.” Among the synonyms of the word are ‘flexibility,’ ‘durability’ and ‘strength,’ but I believe that resiliency is a combination of all of these words and its meaning also includes many other lessons that the situation we are going through is leaving us.
During this year, where each family is facing their own situation and navigating their own storm in a different boat, resiliency can go from getting used to virtual learning, to homeschooling our kids (even if we had never imagine to do so before), or going back to school and taking the necessary precautions even though this could mean using a mask all day.
My family has lived a combination of these circumstances. First, we were part of distance learning, but as soon as it was possible to go back to school in person, my 6-year-old did it, and in both situations, I have seen the resiliency in him. I learned a lot watching him do his classes on Zoom, and I am frequently amazed about what he teaches me during our conversations after he went back to school in person. His resiliency has taught me the following:
It is always possible to adapt to new circumstances.
I recognize that there are things that take us longer than others, but in the end, it is possible to get used to a new routine or circumstance. In the beginning, my son was not happy with distance learning but by the end of the second week, he had a routine and was showing less resistance to this type of learning. Once he went back to the classroom, he adapted to his new normal, even though that includes using a mask most of the day (sometimes I even have to remind him to take it off once he gets in the car).
New things are scary.
It is scary to meet your new teacher and classmates through a screen. It is scary to not know if you are doing it well. It is scary getting out of the car for the first time and walking through the entrance without mom or dad walking with you, knowing that teachers are not able to give you a hug. But fear is also overcome, and it is our resilience that gives us strength.
Teachers are heroes.
They have had to adapt the way they work, create lessons that are different to what they were used to, and many of them have also learned to teach kids in the classroom while they’re teaching other students through Zoom. No matter how they feel, they do their best to make the kids feel comfortable and secure, while the kids see them as someone who is supporting them in these difficult times.
They always enjoy learning from mom and dad.
I realized that my son needs to hear that his education is important to us, and it is not just about celebrating a good grade but showing a consistent interest in what they are doing. I need to make it evident for him and I have realized that my son really enjoys when I review his work every day and at the same time, that motivates him to try harder every time.
P.E. is an important subject.
I never thought that my son would miss P.E. the way he does since we try to be physically active, we go outside to play, and run and ride our bikes. But he showed me how much he was missing the activities that the coach prepares at school. Now that he went back to class in person, he is happy every time that he goes to P.E., and even though is not the same as before, he enjoys doing exercise with his friends.
There is always someone that can give us a hand.
Going back to that first day of school, my son was nervous because it was the first time that we were doing ‘car drop-off’ (during kinder I always walked him to the entrance myself). I could see his watery eyes as he had to take that first step out of the car, after six months of being at home, but the teacher that was helping him get out of the car made everything easier. She couldn’t hug him, but she showed him how can he hug himself and gave him confidence with his words, until he found another teacher that walked him to his classroom. Both teachers helped a lot that first day in the school building, but that also made me realized that during the pandemic, we have the support of many people, family and friends.
A hug and a popsicle can transform our days.
If the day is not going as expected, a popsicle or our favorite food/snack can help us get through it. And nothing compares to a warm hug that tells us everything will be better. Just hug others and treat yourself every now and then, without guilt.
After all this, I do believe that resiliency is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties,” and we are getting through it. Each of us, in our own way, has learned to smile during the pandemic and the new school year–all an example of our resiliency.