The Adventures Of Fatherhood – November 13, 2020

A snippet of a routine afternoon conversation with my seventh grader confirms I will never learn. I know better than to seek information from my 12-year-old about his school day as soon as he gets in the car after school, but I do it anyway a couple times a week.

Me: How was your day?

Beckett: Good

Me: Did you learn anything?

Beckett: No

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Me: How come?

Beckett: Oh I did, sure, I was confused.

Me: What was the most fun you had today?

Beckett: I don’t know.

Me: Much homework?

Beckett: I don’t know.

Me: What do you mean?

Beckett: I have some. Can I play basketball until dark and then study for my history test?

Me: So you do have homework?

Beckett: Can I play?

Me: Sure, but then you have to get on your work.

Beckett: You want to go one-on-one?

Me: I don’t know.

Beckett: What do you mean?

Me: I don’t know.

Beckett: What’s for dinner?

Me: I don’t know.

Beckett: Really?

Me: Yeah, not sure.

Beckett: Want to go one-on-one?

Me: Yes, before it starts raining.

Beckett: Why does it rain as soon as I get out of school all the time?

Me: I know, it’s a bummer.

Beckett: It’s unfair is what it is.

They’re not lazy, but man both my kids like to get their relaxation on these days.

It’s not a bad thing to enjoy some rest and downtime. We all need it, but there are times when I flounder between being impressed and repulsed by their abilities to kick back. They have become quite adept at doing nothing for extended periods of time.

Overall, I don’t mind it because they go to school every day and do well for the most part. I also know there is a mental health component to all that has occurred in their lives since March. A brief conversation I had with Beckett one night this week confirmed the distractions of the ongoing pandemic are still on his mind.

Because he loves sports, a lot of his concerns deal with them and whether they will be canceled again. He wants to basketball for his school this winter. He said there’s a lot of speculation among his classmates on whether they will be able to stay in school or have to do what we did last spring. I told him I didn’t have the answers, but the best thing may be to just take everything day to day. I told him there’s a lot of uncertainty in everyone’s lives right now. We don’t know what the future holds. We just do our best everyday and go from there.

It’s tough not to feel helpless at times when I think about the vacations canceled and the various experiences lost over the last eight months for my kids. There is a constant want to provide a normal upbringing for our kids. There are opportunities and I truly believe we can’t let our kids feel like they are being robbed in life, although there may be some truth to it.

A message floating around on social media recently touched this topic. It was written by Jesse Brunette of Sheboygan, Wis. and provided some helpful and hopeful reminders.

The past 6+ months I’ve heard the phrase “our kids have already lost so much” countless times. And, my friends, I’m over it.

It’s a bit pathetic, in my opinion, that as adults we are perpetuating the victim mentality for our kids instead of teaching them the art of grit and pivoting in unexpected or challenging times.

Using a current issue as an example, are kids really going to “suffer” of they don’t trick or treat? No. Only if WE (the adults) model a “loss” mindset.

What if, instead, families looked at it as a way to plan a really fun evening? Maybe doing a family art project, bobbing for apples in mixing bowls, packaging up sweet treats to door drop for neighbors, creating a spooky themed meal together.

I assure you, if WE (the adults) started finding the OPPORTUNITY instead of inflating the perceived losses, we may actually find that we have opportunities to create lasting memories for our children. They’ll remember that year they had a SPECIAL Halloween instead of trick or treating like every other year.

Shift your OWN perspective so we can look back at this time and remember how much our kids (and ourselves) LEARNED during the pandemic, not lost.

Opportunities are everywhere. For more quality time. For more exploring. For more conversations. For slowing down.

Mindset matters, friends. And WE are setting the stage for the next generation. Let’s do better … for them and for ourselves.

“Mindset matters” is the right phrase. Kids look to their parents for perspective. Modeling some positivity and lifting our kids up through whatever means we all have individually will be healthy for all of us.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.