We have young children, or are caregivers for young children and we are in the midst of a world pandemic. Everything is changing so quickly in our world. Information travels so quickly - yet we have no way to gauge the truth of the information we receive. Much of the so-called information is misleading or false and sometimes even dangerous. We want to take the advice of the “experts” but who are the experts and who are the misinformation purveyors?
- They adopt anxiety as their normal state, as the default mode.
- They cannot truly connect with other people including their anxious parents and caregivers. (Anxious parents and caregivers also are not able to truly connect.)
- They cannot develop to their full potential.
- Develop our own practice of anxiety and fear reduction. A practice means it is something we have to do over and over. And over and over. Every day, except when we forget. At the same time every day, so it can become a habit, and that makes it easier to do every day. For at least a few minutes. And it’s a practice, so we don’t expect to be perfect, we only are trying to do better and better. Find your own way toward joy! I recommend watching this short video from Rick Hanson about what is needed in this present moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wea__XOf-BY
- What is the best practice? That is up to each of us to discover. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe. The best one for you is the one that you actually do that helps you to reduce fear and be able to make your inner life a safe have for peacefulness and calm, and to be able to access your parasympathetic nervous system to calm your vagus nerve. My go to for help with this are various meditations Rudolf Steiner offered, as well as the wise guidance of Rick Hanson (https://www.rickhanson.net/)
- It might be a good idea to limit how much time we spend on our devices plugged in to the anxiety creating media, and what times of day we do that plugging in. Perhaps make a commitment to leave off all devices during mealtimes? Perhaps don’t check your phone right before bed? Or first thing upon waking up in the morning? How often do you need to see if there are any updates about the virus? Remember, all the time you spend online is time not connecting with your children.
- Prepare to answer your young children when they ask why is there no kindergarten, what are we staying home, what can’t I have a playdate? The core truth I would say to my young children is; I want us to be safe and healthy. There is a virus/flu/sickness that can be serious for grownup and I don’t want anyone we know to be sick. Short, true and to the point.
- You are probably staying at home a lot now. Take this as a great opportunity to enjoy being with your children!
We can meet the false rumors and worries and not let them invade our psyches. We can meet fear head on with our warmth, love, interest, enthusiasm and compassion. What is the present moment asking of us? I think it is a call to inner work to be able to place our attention on what we choose. It is a moment to develop the capacity to make choices based on reasoned wisdom and not fear. It is a call for compassionate community. And it is an opportunity to develop active hope for positive change based on our thought-filled actions. We can work together for the good.