Children don’t come with a manual. At least I don’t think they do. If they did that, nobody gave me one – which is messed up. Who would I call about something like this? It would have been convenient.
So much of the upbringing of these little people depends on personal choices. As an omniscient adult, you decide what is right and what is wrong in order to lead you to the best possible result. In almost all cases, these decisions differ from person to person.
They span a wide range of categories and children. What should they eat Which clubs should you join? What friends should they have? What is the appropriate age for doing certain things? Should they go to school? Should you…?
Wait what Should they go to school? “Really?” If it had been a year ago, this sentence would have been a typo. I would have meant McDonalds or Hell or something. But school? When did that become a personal decision?
For us here in New York, March – then. This is where your child should be surrounded by other children who became a matter of choice even before a pandemic we called germ magnets.
When they first closed our lives right before St. Patty’s Day, I remember being in disbelief. My daughter, who was nearing the last quarter of her sixth grade, asked me if her school concert, which was a few weeks away, was being canceled. I did the dad thing.
Ha ha. No, it won’t be that long.
Weeks came. Weeks passed. You canceled it.
Then she asked me if her birthday, which was two months away, would be quarantined. I remained fatherly.
Ha ha. No, it won’t be that bad until then.
It was. Two months later. Two months later. She had one of those car parades.
Then she asked me if the school would be fully open until September. I answered.
No idea. Let’s watch TV.
I’m not sure when I gave up optimizing myself through Covid, but I did. I went from laughing as a temporary problem to accepting fate. It was frustrating. It was annoying. It was confusing. In the end it was a reality.
So here we start another school year and for the first time it has become a personal decision. Do I keep my kids at home and let them do their lessons on Google and Zoom, or do I send them off to do so in person? I decide. Couldn’t be anything. Could be anything.
And that’s crazy.
If parenting choices were a video game, this is the final level. “How many goldfish crackers can you eat” is level one. “The right age to do your makeup” is like level five. Whether they should spend the day in a potentially fatal school or hide in the house for months, the ultimate boss is.
It’s crazy because a year ago at school for my special needs son I was fighting to get more school. I struggled for in-home lessons and time with teachers. It’s something that a lot of parents would have applauded me back then. For many, this is now like a fight for more cigarettes. Talk about a 180.
Now let me give you my great advice. That’s why you’re here, right? Should you send your child back to school if this option is available? OK. I’ll tell you. Ready?
No idea. No idea. You do you boo boo.
Seriously. I do not know your children. I know mine and that’s a coin toss sometimes. We allow my son to continue classes at school as distance learning did not work for him. As a non-verbal boy with autism, he got more out of the summer program than it was normal again. That doesn’t mean your child will. Even if your child is nonverbal with autism, it’s not mine. I can’t give you an answer.
My daughter’s week will be mixed. It’s half there and half at home. We’re cool with that. She itches to get out of the house and after hearing the precautions they take there we are ok with it. This is our choice. This is our child.
You’re a different house with different people. Perhaps your child is freaking out about the coronavirus and a fate worse than educational regression when they enter a building with possible illness. I get it. You have the right not to send them. Don’t do what i do I won’t do what you do We do what is right for our families.
That’s the real moral here. Don’t let anyone blame you for what goes against your instincts. If school is an option, you have every right to accept it. Education is important and if you feel safe, this is the best way to go.
Health is the same. If you don’t feel safe, don’t do it. Keep them at home. Let them do things at their own pace and at the pace you choose. It is Your Decision.
This is new territory. As mothers and fathers, we travel to a world that no one could have ever imagined. We saw toilet paper become a commodity and murder hornets come and went. Now we have to decide whether the activities our children were engaged in six hours a day all of their lives up to six months ago could be harmful to their health. This is 2020 for you.
If you wave them goodbye tomorrow while the bus is leaving, or fix their breakfast before they go to a Google Meet in pajama bottoms, you’ll know one thing for sure. Whatever decision you made, you are right. That’s what parents are for.
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