We all need new containers.
Good Lord, week 8!?! The sun is shining this morning but man oh man, it isn't easy facing the 8th Monday of lock down. The absence of my safety nets: the communities at my yoga or barre studios, my weekly peer consultation group, or visits to my fave local coffee shop are adding up. These are privileges in many ways, I know, but they serve a bigger purpose for me. That little bit of social contact when sweating together, laughing together, or making eye contact face-to-face and not screen-to-screen, it contains me. I need to be seen and heard. Humans are social beings after all. And besides the gorgeous cappuccino at French Press that I miss, I also dearly miss experiencing the sounds, smells and pulse of other people being in the world when I'm standing in line at that café.
I know my kids and yours are feeling it too. I re-read Brené Brown's blog about school being a safe haven for kids. It was posted almost exactly a year ago. I can't help but think long and hard about what it means for our kids to have temporarily lost the spaces and the people in them who are their containers. School can and does provide a safe haven for so many kids and now, during this global crisis, they are existing without that safety net. This loss is certainly felt by all kids in at least small ways and by some in superiorly big ways.
Small ways: occasional loneliness, boredom, or listlessness. Poor focus, shorter-than-usual attention spans, and increased neediness. That little big of regression I blogged about a few weeks ago.
Big ways: persistent loneliness, low motivation, or apathy. Irritability, resistance and/or defiance, and anxiety.
How do we address this loss and respect social distancing at the same time? To the extent it's possible, request ways for your child to have 1:1 time with their teachers, coaches, spiritual leaders, and other significant adults in their lives. The class-wide Zoom meeting might suffice for some but not all and for younger kids, it might even be overly stimulating. Cultivate your own ways for 1:1 time with your kid; any activity together that you designate as your time will work if you make it sacred space. In other words, prioritize it and and honor it.
And, more importantly, designate your own containing space. Your 5pm walk in the neighborhood, virtual coffee with a friend, or livestreaming your favorite workout. Whatever those safe havens are for you right now, prioritize them and make them sacred.