Learning & Teaching
By Mercedes Soto, Impact Evaluation Advisor, Agenda for Children OST
Yesterday, when I was walking and listening to a podcast, in the April Fool's Day early morning snow flurry, I saw this colorful child's drawing zip tied to a tree. The message "We are in this fight together so we must remember to be kind to each other." brought me to tears. I was overcome by this wave of grief for all of the people and the ways of life we've lost and the people and ways of life we are losing.
As we enter another week of this strange new reality, many of us are adjusting and establishing new (hopefully healthy) routines. We are staying home and only venturing outside for the essentials. while we try to stand at least 6 feet away from the next person in the aisle. There is tape on the floor in the check out lines to help us mark the "safer" distances between us. So many people are afraid and anxious. I can see it in their body language and how they avoid eye contact. Even though, we are feeling a lot of sadness and grief and pain, for the time being, we cannot reach out to shake hands and offer hugs. I try to smile and send love and compassion to them from a safe distance. I am so grateful for the brave people who are delivering food, medicine, and supplies, stocking the shelves, checking us out, cleaning the door handles and surfaces. I am grateful for the essential workers who are providing food for children while schools are closed, continuing sanitation services, taking care of people in emergency rooms and hospitals, and homeless shelters. I am grateful for the teachers who are sending daily writing prompts and emails to parents and students, scheduling one on one FaceTime or regular phone calls, and classroom video conferences. I am grateful for the messages from after school programs who are sending encouragement and resources and activities for children and youth to do at home. And I am grieving.
Every day, I am trying to: practice gratitude, exercise, drink enough water, eat greens (not just chocolate). I am reaching out to friends and family and trying to be fully present for them when they reach out to me. I am trying cultivate joy and to focus on the positive things, and to laugh and dance. I am trying to keep focused on work, posting resources and inspiration on social media, and attending virtual meetings. I am homeschooling my son. And I am grieving.
Thank you, Melinda Barbosa, for reminding me that "If we don't name our grief, and feel our grief, we cannot heal our grief." I want to heal my grief and I want to support us all in healing our collective grief, so that we can continue to be here for the children who are growing up in this new reality, the children who remind us that we are in this fight together, and to be kind to each other.
To that end, I recommend that you read and listen to:
That Discomfort You are Feeling is Grief (by Scott Berinato in the Harvard Business Review)
On Grief and Finding Meaning with Brené Brown and David Kessler (Unlocking Us Podcast)
If you'd like to share resources with your colleagues, tell us how you are coping and healing, and helping the youth and families that you work with to heal, and continuing to find joy while we are physically apart, please submit a blog post by emailing. Here are some tips to help get you started.