We can all agree this year has been collectively tough for all of us to some degree. Whether it was just coping with the fears of covid 19 or suffering through natural disasters, racial injustices, relationship breakdowns, job loss and home insecurity we have all had our own unique challenges to navigate.
I feel as a person who doesn’t yet have children, having a child to protect and care for through these hard times must be very scary.
Parents, you’re doing an amazing job!
(I think we don’t say it enough, thank you for all that you do!).
Impacts on young children
I do have the privilege in my job as a child care provider to witness the fruits of parents' labour, and the challenges they may be facing with their children. This pandemic has definitely had an impact on our young people.
Some days they are very afraid. They look to us to have the answers but we too are afraid. Yet they trust us and adjust to their new normal and carry on.
Some days they surprise me with the information they have absorbed. They ask questions. Children are very inquisitive by nature. It’s an opportunity to help them understand the world a little better. They adjust to their new normal and carry on.
Some days they are their normal, silly, funny selves and those days are a blessing. They make me think “the kids are going to be alright”. Then I hope we can get our act together so we can give them the future they deserve.
Some children are very anxious of the future. Mental health issues are appearing in younger children and this will be a challenge that we will be left with long after the pandemic is under control. My generation (Millennials) had 911 while these kids have covid 19. We need to give them the skills to cope so they can adjust to their new normal and carry on.
Adults have a responsibility
Maybe it’s because it’s spring or the end of the school term but I feel that even though we have ongoing challenges to help this generation through that will probably take years, I do believe they will be okay. But it depends on us adults.
We need to make sure we are looking after ourselves first! Look after our mental health and our physical health! We need to make time for our families and friends. Now that we have experienced lock down we shouldn’t take relationships for granted again.
Kids grow up so fast! And this year has been a hard one but it's nearly over. We’re not out of the woods of covid 19 yet, but hopefully the worst is behind us.
I’m feeling hopeful.
“How do children develop courage and resilience? The answer is portrayed in the four directions of the circle of courage drawn by Lakota artist George Bluebird. Beginning in the east, all children need to belong, to master, to become independent, and to contribute to others in a spirit of generosity”. (Taken from Brendtro Larry, du Toit Lesley, Response Ability Pathways Restoring bonds of Respect 2005 page 14, pretext, Cape Town)
Chanell Diaz is a member of The Salvation Army in New Zealand. She and her husband Ronald both work as child care workers and Chanell is also a qualified Youth Worker through Praxis. Chanell has a heart for justice and enjoys creating art and writing in her spare time.