Getting Better: Kids and Resilience During COVID-19 Holidays
Updated: May 19, 2020
Words and Graphics By Maggie Favretti, 2019. Photo by Paul Duddy. All Rights Reserved.
Funny story--I'm trying to make some dinner rolls to go with my soup and, well, they won't rise. Or, maybe they're just not rising fast enough. "Well, it IS Passover after all," said my non-Jewish Mother, "isn't that part of the story?" "Teachable moment," said my internal narrator. "This is a chance," it repeated. This is our chance to show our kids how we are connected--to each other and to our shared past, no matter what our differences. This is a chance to empower our children. This is a chance to learn. This is a chance to get well. In Rebecca Wells' novel "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood," Genevieve assures us, "Sometime the bébé she have to get sick to get well." I think we can all see that we, the collective patchwork of we, are not well. Here's one humble suggestion for taking one step toward getting better. Let's let our kids redesign these holidays. I'm not suggesting that we suddenly celebrate something else, instead, let's let the kids say HOW we could celebrate. They'll have to do a little discovery. Dig into the past. Talk to people...maybe old people. Maybe people who are different. What is the meaning of all this? What does it have in common with the celebrations of others? And then define the problem. A family-centered holiday which typically involves travel and guests and sharing food is not going to happen in the same way. What would it be like if kids re-designed it?? Would we start a new tradition? Make it even more shared than it already is? Build in actions short and long-term for those less well off than ourselves? Not sure what will happen, but psychology definitely supports children getting involved in authentic problem solving as a way of surviving disasters. Science definitely tells us that social connectedness and cultural traditions help us heal. Let's give the responsibility to the kids and let them brainstorm solutions we might not have ever considered. In the middle of the rapids, let's take a moment and be grateful when the bread doesn't rise. Forward, together.