The intensity of all that is happening right now is so often overwhelming. Everything has been turned on its head. Through all of this, I am continually moved by the kindness, love, and tenacity of young people. And it is about them that I write this right now.
But first, something that happened last night. We found a small package on our porch — and we truly do not know who left it for us. It seems copied as if they did this for many of the neighbors. It included toilet paper, a gift card to a local Thai restaurant, and a sweet card that had a quote from Mr. Rogers — which includes the following:
“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connect us as neighbors — in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.”
I love knowing that this was written by Mr. Rogers — who was so committed to helping young people understand relationships and feelings. He worked non-stop to create and protect screen time as a positive learning experience in kids’ lives.
Thank you to whoever left this gift at our doorstep.
When it comes to kindness, I hear about so many ways that young people are reaching out to their friends and family wanting to make a difference. For example, college students working to tutor high school students online. I am hearing how young people are concerned about their friends’ emotional state and are Facetiming them to have undistracted time together.
I’ve heard from a few kids around the country who wrote letters of appreciation to their teachers. One teenager from California reached out to her teacher to share how she didn’t realize how hard it is to teach oneself math and history, and really misses the comfort of school.
My daughter yesterday decided to surprise her friends by dropping off at their doorsteps tubes of henna, so they could make art to feel better. The henna tubes came from India and are used to apply the henna die to the skin to create temporary decorations.
When my neighbor sent out an email three days ago asking for volunteers to be on a list to help any neighbors in need, my son Chase immediately emailed back to get on the list.
But this is not easy for our young people. Tonight, my daughter Tessa shared some of her writings from today. I asked if I could put it in this TTT and she said yes. She wrote:
“This past week has been life-changing as I see how fragile, uncharted and small our world is after all. As a young woman, I find myself carrying others’ pain close to my heart. I care deeply about my friends’ experiences or get worked up about my co-workers’ stress. More times than not though, these hardships leak into my own feelings. It can feel as though my heart has stopped pumping blood and instead been replaced with every tear, every hardship, and every loss, deep inside my heart. This was a dramatic way to say, I am sensitive. Sometimes I wish I could distance myself from the news channels and be blind to other’s pain. With more work in therapy and growing up, I try to value my ability to feel emotions deeply. I love when I can empathize with others to make them feel heard and validated. I also love when I can do something to have a positive change on the situation.”
How do we help support our youth? That is what I was thinking about today when I got to have a call with my dear friend Tammy Fisher, Ph.D., an author of several books and a school counselor who is always full of pearls. She has been working with her students remotely, and she was telling me this week she discussed the idea of their “Circle of Control” because it is always a lesson that resonates with youth.
She has her students discuss the things they don’t have control over — the things that flow between one’s fingers — like an aggressive virus, but that there are things one still does have control over. For instance, they have the choice to Facetime a cousin or old friend, or the choice to call someone to brighten their day, or the choice to wash one’s hands, or the choice to walk into the other room and take two breaths if one’s emotion’s spike.
And parents, we need to know in all of this we have our own “Circles of Control.” We can still work for healthy sleep (such as devices out of the bedroom for sleep time), for healthy food (ask our kids to help cook with us), and for healthy habits like doing a moment of gratitude at dinner.
One last thing, we are working on a way for people to host online events during this time. We still strongly believe in the “coming together as a community model” for showing and discussing both movies, so these temporary online events will be here only while social distancing is in place. The great thing is that the screening events will be followed by post-screening, online community discussions.
We will get back to you within a week or so with details.
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