Uncertain? What to do and how to help: A Message from Dr. Newman

It looks like the 2021-2022 school year will at least start with some uncertainty regarding how various schools will be implementing public health measures for students and staff – and as I write this – not yet a full week of school for some – changes in some of those have already been necessary.

How to help? What to do?

First, know you are not alone. People everywhere are working hard to learn what they can to keep everyone in their families and world safe. At home, at work, and all of the places in between. That means there is a lot of empathy and understanding to be had (even if some people are showing their frustrations by acting out with irritability and grumpiness). That leads to two and three…

2.) Try to give yourself a break. If others are unkind or snap at you? It is rarely about YOU. It is likely the stressors they are trying to manage in their own thoughts and lives.  Remove that responsibility from your plate, that you are responsible for how others behave and feel

3.)Then, try to give others a break too. Sometimes just a little bit of a nod or offer of help or “it’s been a long day hasn’t it” can provide a huge amount of support to someone else who need it. Often, it’s a boost for the person sharing the kindness as well! It feels good to DO something that makes a different, no matter how small.

Finally, prepare yourself to do what you can and to accept that flexibility and creativity in how we see things (again, this year) are likely often going to the rule rather than the exception. Talk about this with your kids and students. Be clear that changes and stressors and even big feelings that can emerge? Those are not about THEM. THEY are NOT personal. They are response to uncertainty. Invite them to brainstorm and problem solve and share different ways to see a situation and manage it. And consider – it really is a different kind of skill set we are developing in such situations. Thinking calmly, outside the box, with patience and understanding, possibly not obtaining our standard outcome. Very likely though our goals are for a common community good. And that’s an important, special thing, right?

RESPECT is doing so much of that. Lots of LIVE THEATRE – from great donated space via St. Timothy’s through all kinds of electronic platforms, probably in smaller groups. Lots of new ways to interact with students virtually and share information, facilitate conversations and role plays, learn from each other – it will be different – but we will all continue to learn together – in a fun, safe, healthy, RESPECTful way!