Congratulations! You have made it to the final blog in this series on The Pandemic Population. I hope it has been informative and insightful.
In Elmore’s last chapter of his book, he urges parents to be involved as their children build healthy narrative identities. This narrative identity will evolve over time as they integrate their past experiences with the present-day culture. As this narrative identity emerges from the COVID pandemic, it will also guide them as they move forward into their futures.
As we guide our children through the challenges of the pandemic, we need to remember that adversity in life can help us to grow stronger in character. But if we step in too often to rescue them from adversities, they will give up more quickly and become more fragile and less resilient. When these adversities occur, Elmore offers 3 questions to ask yourself as a parent:
- Check your motive: Am I communicating worry or wisdom to them?
- Check your foundation: Do I base my conclusions on fear or facts?
- Check your advice: Do I base my leadership on panic or principles?
In summary, Elmore offers 8 ways to help our children:
- Make a habit of talking and finding the positives during difficult times.
- Break down the difficult times into “small bites” in their minds. Discussing how to handle a problem 1 step at a time keeps it from being overwhelming.
- Identify incorrect information in their personal narrative. Keep to the facts of what actually happened. Don’t allow them to make assumptions based on emotions.
- Remind them of past personal successes.
- Help them practice their own advice. Challenge your child to think of a friend who may be struggling with difficult issues, and ask them what advice they would give to that friend? Finally, ask them if they practice their own advice.
- Point out biographies of individuals who have overcome adversities.
- Express both high expectations with high belief.
- Practice positive self-talk. Too often, we focus on the things that we did wrong and the areas where we fail. To avoid negativity, ask your children daily to tell you something that they accomplished well for the day. Not only will it build up their confidence, but it will give you insight into their natural strengths.
What will we remember from this COVID Pandemic?
As we move forward from 2020, the goal is to have a healthy memory of the pandemic. The key to reaching this goal is to help our children have an accurate memory of events that can fuel a positive personal narrative.
I leave you with this quote from Elmore:
“Our job as parents, teachers, coaches and employers is to equip our children/youth to think and act in a way that is hopeful. Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.”