Who Else Needs Some Encouraging Words?

“Unprecedented” is the big word in our house. It perfectly describes what our city, our state, our country, our world is going through. 

As I tell my almost-twelve-year-old son, no one really knows. Everyone is making it up as we go. Trying to figure out what needs to be done to keep people healthy and safe.

I recently read Michael J. Fox’s slim memoir A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Future…

They say that sometimes books come into your lives when you most need them. Well, there was one part I most definitely needed to read. It helped me, and I share it with you this week in hopes that it will also help you during these uncertain times.

“Don’t spend a lot of time imagining the worst-case scenario. It rarely goes down as you imagine it will, and if by some fluke it does, you will have lived it twice. When things go bad, don’t run, don’t hide. Stick it out, and be scrupulous in facing every part of your fear. Try to be still. It will take time, but you’ll find that even the gravest problems are finite — and that your choices are infinite.”

Worries and Promises

Now is a time for art projects, reading, and homework. My little artist when he was just 2 years old.

It’s a difficult time in our world right now.

It’s scary. And unpredictable. And more scary.

And in the midst of all this uncertainty, all this toilet-paper-buying, all this hand-washing, I’m trying to remain calm and reassuring, both for my son and myself.

No one prepares you for difficult conversations with kids.

I remember when I was still teaching. Having to talk to my fourth graders the day after the Sandy Hook tragedy. They were scared. They wanted reassurances and promises. And I could only promise them so much. I promised them that my number one job each day is to keep them healthy and safe. And I promised them that everyone at our elementary school felt the same way.

Now I’m having to talk to my almost-twelve-year-old son about a virus I have difficulty spelling. 

For my son, the coronavirus became more real when the NBA cancelled games and suspended the season. And on the same night we got that information, we found out one of our favorite actors, Tom Hanks, had contracted the illness. 

Though Los Angeles schools are now shut-down for at least two weeks, our family is managing. We’re lucky. I write from home, and thankfully, we’re not reliant on the meals provided by my son’s school. We’ll get through this, because really, what other choice is there.

But what do I tell my son? What can I promise him during these unprecedented times?

The same thing I told my students. My number one job is to keep him healthy and safe.

Wishing you all health and safety and hope you surround yourselves with things that make you feel good and cozy. For us, it’s hot chocolate, good books, microwave popcorn, and the reassurance that we have plenty of toilet paper stashed away.