Living in Harmony

To our students we teach that five elements are indispensable to live in harmony: self-esteem, respect, empathy, agreements and assertiveness.

Is it possible to live harmoniously in quarantine? These five elements are effective under any circumstances, even in quarantine.

1.Self-esteem

Human beings are God's most valuable creation, so life is above all else and defended in any circumstance. Our children must understand that these extreme measures are done to take care of our lives and the lives of others.

Despite putting our best effort into this time, it is natural that from time to time frustration and impatience invade us. Let's validate our emotions, talk about them. Let's ask our children what they think, what they feel, etc. Of course we can feel sad, overwhelmed, anxious and underneated, but the daily challenge will be to discover ways to feel better. Read, dance, cook, paint, listen to music, order, do breathing exercises, assemble puzzles, etc. Everyone can know what makes them feel

better. It is proven that exercising helps us keep fit not only our body and mind, without our mood.

Let's exercise, we all need to move, but our kids in a special way.

2.Respect

Each family member lives the quarantine process in a particular way. Differences need to be respected. Let's respect our children, they're processing all of this, too, in their own way, but they're doing it. Our children need to be released with the truth, but please don't expose them to an over-information of negative news.

Remember that children speak through their behavior. It is a time to observe them a lot and enjoy their wonderful spontaneity and joy.

Let the kids take out those toys they haven't seen in a while, look at photos of when they were younger, use the dining table to play ping pong, etc. It's important for them to perceive that their parents at a different juncture know how to adjust and do different things as well.

3.Agreements

I recommend you to talk with your family and come to few agreements, but the essentials to function as a team. Involve kids in everyday tasks: setting the table, tidying up the room, agreeing shifts for computer use, etc.

4.Empathy

Our children are lucky, they have a family, a place to be, what to eat. They must know that their reality is not the only one. That there are people who are having a lot harder right now. Let's take this time to talk with family about all the people who can't stay at home and take care of us from the outside. Let us pray for the deceased and their families. Let us sow in our children the delicacy and restlessness of thinking of our neighbor. And let us teach them to be grateful; gratitude almost always accompanies the happiest people.

5.Assertiveness

It's time to think long before you talk and act. Let's not argue about what's not worth it. Choose your battles well. I usually encourage parents to have a structured routine inside the house because that provides security and confidence, but at this juncture we need to make our days a little more flexible. No longer being able to leave is a rigid structure that we are living day by day, I think that inside our homes we could have more flexible and playful structures to achieve our goals.

If the kids' homework stresses us or we don't know how to guide them, let's lean on the teachers to explain our situation, they will understand. It's a good time to develop bonds between teachers and parents based on trust and empathy.

Let's not be frightened of the "dead" times. These times are proven to be good allies for awakening creativity and teach us to look inward.

It is not a good time to demand or criticize, so many days together makes us more irritable and sensitive; on the contrary, it's a good time to congratulate and support us.

I've read a lot of articles on how to make this quarantine more bearable. I consider every family to be a world, each has a different history, style, needs. I am sure that you as parents will know how to recognize the resources of each of your children and yours as well. You will know what is best for your families. Trust in your role as your children's loving parents, guides, and companions and remember that in difficult times God is with us in a special way. May this obligatory pause bring us new learning, make our families strengthen and be an opportunity to grow as a community.

Esther Medina
Docente and Family Therapist San Pedro College



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