Every beginning is inspiring – it is a time when we hope for the best in the future. Back to school is even more exciting time for everyone involved – children, parents, teachers, and leaders. This season adds a good spoonful of anxiety to the excitement. How long will children be able to attend kindergartens and schools in person? How will they manage to communicate and learn after this break?
The thought of another quarantine is something I want to put as far away as possible. It is much more fun to think that everything will be all right and that the bad pandemic dream will soon be over. However, we have already experienced that reality does not live up to our expectations. That is why the intrusive quarantine thought keeps coming back.
There are things we cannot change. And there are things that only we can change. The decision to quarantine is not in our hands, but we can each take at least two essential steps to bring more peace to our lives.
First, it’s to stay safe and protect the people around us. This applies equally to those who have been vaccinated and those who have not. The difficult-to-manage spread of the virus has reminded us of one important point. We are all tightly connected. We are a community. It will be impossible to stop the pandemic if we think only of ourselves, if we defend only our individual rights and individual freedom.
Second, let’s embrace anxiety as a natural feeling. We can ask children what they are most worried about and talk about their feelings. Let’s also name for ourselves what it is that worries us. Then we can think about what we will do if what we fear most happens. How will we organise our lives if there is another quarantine, if you or a member of your family falls ill?
If we imagine the worst-case scenario today and think through our options, we will have a calmer tomorrow. Not because we avoid the future, but because we are prepared for it. The more detailed Plan B is, the more peace of mind you will have today and the more we will be able to enjoy every day. The calmer we are, the safer the children will feel. Being safe is their basic need.
Maya Angelou, writer, poet and civil rights activist, loved and enjoyed life despite the injustice, violence and abuse she experienced. “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between”, she said. Let us also prepare ourselves for all future scenarios and then enjoy the joyful moments of a new beginning.