Champion (part 2 of 2)
Champion: verb (used with object) to act as champion of; defend; support.
This week OTHER is the object of Championing (partner, friend, family)
Now’s the perfect time.
It’s amazing what happens in one week. America is asked to draw inward, welcome students home to learn of every age, and keep a six foot distance in public spaces. Now is the time for championing. Championing holds an #empowered energy of #courage and steadiness. How can I champion for you today? It’s the perfect time to ask those you love who are with you now more than ever before, how would you best feel supported by me right now?
Everything has changed in this time of Corona virus. One way to start this level of championing is to have a household conversation being curious about how everyone is experiencing this time. History in the making can be viewed as:
boring: I’m not doing anything, everything is canceled
terrifying: This affects the elderly and I worry those I love
angst: What will happen out of the uncertainty?
curious: This has not happened in our lifetimes. I wonder what decisions and actions will come of this.
distressing: Every aspect of society and everyone on Earth is living in change
Allow everyone a chance to talk about their experience. What questions do they have? What is frightening? What are they thinking about this time? Deeply listen and hear what everyone’s experience is. A way of championing those around you is to listen to their story and experiences. Listening is without judgement or criticism. Listening allows your loved ones to feel heard.
We don’t get a say in what is happening concerning the pandemic. But turning inward to our families, we do have a say on how we meet this moment. Championing can be to ask what transitions are needed.
What will help us to flourish in our home?
What is the culture/atmosphere we want to co-create together?
How do we want to be together if it’s difficult?
What do I hope to get out of this time we are together as a family?
Let’s do it imperfectly. Championing means to be more focused on support and less on getting it right. We’re going to make mistakes and get on each other’s nerves at times. But if we hold the idea of championing even in those times, we can finish off any attempt with a flourish of love.
“None of you will ever forget this moment in our history, and together you can make this the best chapter of your family’s story.” — Petrecia Shales
Here’s a great article a friend of mine, Petrecia Shales wrote that gets to the heart of championing teens and young adults schooling at home:
Everyone needs a comfortable workspace
Teens are most likely going to want to work in their rooms. Take the time to go into your child’s room with them (I know, eww!) and talk about what you can do to help them set up a space that works for them. Does it mean moving in a lamp from another room? Reconfiguring furniture? (Decluttering and CLEANING??!!)
This can be a great time to give your teen the opportunity to redecorate their bedroom. Let them use their creativity, but require they draw a template (maybe even use math to measure the room and their furniture). This project can give them a feeling of control, which we all need right now!
Schedules are important, but flexibility means less conflict!
Unless teachers are expecting students to be “present” in online classes at specific times, allow your student the flexibility to choose when they will do their work. Got a night owl? Give your child the flexibility to work late--as long as they realize they can’t get help from you until the next morning after you’ve had your coffee!
Help your teen to put together a flexible schedule. This doesn’t have to be hour by hour, but rather a schedule that includes what needs to get done in a day. Include a discussion about chores, since everyone is home, but allow for choice.
Talk to your teen(s) about a plan for checking in with you daily. Yes, they will roll their eyes, but this is critical to their success in their new reality. Choose a time that works for both of you--lunch? Dinner? Before your bedtime? Ask the important questions and ask for proof: Can I see what you did for school today? How can I help? What is working and what is not working?
#Connections are critical!
Be okay with the fact that your teen is going to be on their computer--a lot! Aside from working on school assignments, online contact with friends is so important for your child. He/she is used to at least six hours a day of contact with friends and peers in person, not to mention the time they usually spend texting, face-timing, and messaging them. It is natural for your teen to spend a lot of time on their phones or computers talking with friends, at least initially. They need the opportunity to talk with peers about this new life they are suddenly living (and to complain about the new close quarters with their parents and siblings!).
Reach out to friends and family who can be resources to your teen, both academically and emotionally. If Uncle Joe is a math whiz and your expertise doesn’t include algebra, set up a Skype for your teen. Encouraging your teen to reach out to grandparents and other relatives is a great way to increase family bonds and help everyone feel less isolated. If you have friends with younger children, encourage them to reach out to your teen for homework help too!
Be patient--with your teens and with yourself!
It will take time for your teens to get used to being less scheduled. When I was homeschooling my young teens, boredom led to amazing creativity. If you allow for enough flex time to explore new things, you will be amazed at what they will do. One of my daughters taught herself to sew, while another followed lessons online to explore a variety of drawing apps. We should all think of this as a time for change and growth, and we have to give our teens the freedom to get to know who they are away from their usual schedule.
You may have dreams of a Norman Rockwell dinner time, or a family walk or bike ride where everybody is engaged and smiling. The reality is that this is still your family, and having everyone happy at the same time is always going to be a minor miracle! Still, little by little, you can increase the time your teen is willing to spend with parents and siblings, as long as you remember they need time alone too! (Don’t we all??!!)
As a parent with two teenagers close to leaving my nest, I am looking at this time as a last chance to know them and love them. I imagine that eventually, we will all go back to school, back to work, and back to life as we knew it. But for this moment, my girls are at home, under my roof, and safe. They are not out driving (much), I’m not worrying about school violence, and I’ve been given this gift of time with them that I haven’t had since they were little.
Get to know your teens again and love on them as much as they will let you!