Whether our children are in virtual school, preschool, homeschool, or in-person school, we all have the same teacher: 2020. The lessons have challenged and surprised us at every turn. Motherhood cracked open our hearts and showed us the world anew. And here comes 2020 to crack open our hearts and minds.
I know we are all ready to be done with 2020. But I think we should pause a moment and see what lessons this teacher has for us.
Here are three lessons we’re learning in 2020
- The world looks a little different for everyone. Unless you live under a rock, you know 2020 is here to teach us all that we are not all experiencing the world in the same way. And the world isn’t experiencing us in the same way. Your pandemic life and mine may look completely different. Whereas my part-time job has been flexible and allowed me to work from home, I know many mothers who don’t have this privilege. I have friends who have children in school and babies in diapers who are trying to work from home without any assistance while keeping an eye on the baby and helping their older ones with virtual school. I have friends who have teenagers and college-aged children who are missing their friends and missing so many of the milestones most of us took for granted. The pandemic is just one lens through which to see the many ways we are in one world while living in very different worlds. This is a lesson worth keeping in our hearts and minds and applying to other areas as we move forward.
- We are resilient and resourceful. I realize a lot of us knew this already. We get it, 2020. You want us to dig deeper. I have learned to bake and cook so many things in the last six months. We are growing plants from seeds we get from fruits and vegetables. We are going through dish towels like crazy at our house in an attempt to use fewer paper towels. We created learning spaces and a home office at our dining room table, complete with enough charging cables to keep two laptops, one iPad, and two phones fully charged at all times. My son and daughter have bonded over rounds of Minecraft and digging in the yard for interesting rocks. We all miss our friends and extended family. And we miss going places. But we have learned that we can make a life rich in experiences, education, and entertainment without leaving home. Although those long walks and tree-climbing sessions have been nice when it isn’t too hot outside.
- Change is the only constant. Just when we think we have adjusted to things, 2020 throws us another curveball. I think the biggest lesson in 2020 is that change is constant. Sometimes it’s a change in how we work and learn. Sometimes it’s a change in how we clean. Seriously, when will those disinfectant wipes finally be back in stock? Sometimes it’s a change in how we plan everything from dinner to the holidays. 2020 seems to be practically shouting at us: Change is constant. I think the lesson here is to be flexible and to give ourselves and each other all the grace and patience and kindness we can.
So when the year is done and we move into 2021, what lessons will you bring with you? Are you going to continue baking sourdough and growing your own tomatoes? Will you never again have less than a month’s supply of toilet paper?