Have you figured it out yet? Have you figured out how to live at home with children, working from home, overseeing distance learning, being quarantined, and living a life that has turned upside down?
Have you figured out how well you were prepared for any crisis? It is a fact that humans beings have a very short memory in terms of past events, whether health, education, societal, weather-related, or political. What has happened in just your lifetime, which falls under the items in the previous sentence? I challenge you to write them down. Then put down the year it happened. Do you see a pattern? I did a little research, and this is what I found:
Since 1898 the US has had more than 100 Floods, Tornados, Hurricanes, Wildfires, Blizzards, Droughts, Snowstorms, which resulted in over 8 million dead and over 7 trillion dollars in costs.
What about health issues? Since 1900 infectious diseases included Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Diarrhea, Smallpox, yellow fever, era, scarlet fever, Typhoid fever, Spanish Flu, Diphtheria, Polio, Measles, Contaminated water, Whooping Cough, then HIV/AIDS showed up in the 1980s, West Nile virus, Vector-Bone viruses Zika and Chikungunya, Swine Flu, and COVID-19 is an addition to the list.
You may think you are not directly affected by much of anything in your life. Then, fall on your knees and thank God, you are so blessed. At some point, you will be affected if only indirectly.
What about “terrorist” activities? How have these stacked up to our other two aforementioned items? If we simply go back to 1961, we have more than several thousand incidents. We experienced ambassador assassinations, attacks on airports, kidnapping, massacres at Olympics, airline hijackings, beheadings, hostage-taking, bombings, murder, attacks on embassies, attacks on bases, subway attacks and subway bombings, tourist kidnappings, and killings. Oil pipelines were bombed, suicide bombings, biological terrorism, car bombs, truck bombs, and so many more not mentioned here.
There are many more examples of these kinds of “Crisis Events,” which will touch our lives, and it is up to us to be prepared. This gets me back to one of my first queries; “Have you figured out how well you were prepared for any crisis?” One of the things which I hear from my peers and clients is this: “Adulting” has not been taught in the home for decades, and we are now paying the price. Previous generation have pushed aside this responsibility out of the house in hopes that the child will somehow learn it at school, through life experience, the school of hard knocks, or from someone else. What these parents have done is shortchanged the future of our nation and our very well-being.
The first time I heard that a class course at UC Berkley was overbooked and was called “Adulting,” I laughed, and then the newscast started interviewing students in the course. My next thought is, what had their parents been doing at home for the past 18 years? Right now, you are “stuck” at home with your own children of all ages, start constructively teaching them how to act, work and live as adults while you have a “captive audience.” Your children reflect you, their role model.
“I have no idea where to start?” Really?!
A toddler can make a bed, sort their laundry [towels, whites, colors], they can put away those plastic toddler dishes and silverware into a toddler drawer in the kitchen, and they can set their place at the table if given a placemat with the essential items drawn on it for them. They can put up their toys at the end of the day. They love to help; you just must put aside “perfection” and teach the skill.
What about older kids at home? A child from age 10+ can be taught how to do their laundry and fold and put it away. Give each child a day of the week to do their laundry. If you feel like a short-order cook, that’s on you! You teach your family how to act and respond to you. Get down a container of some sort and have everybody put their name on a slip of paper. Draw out the cook for the day. It will work if you take the time to teach meal planning, grocery lists, and shopping, and how to prepare a meal. This includes all adults in the house who can cook. Every person who lives under a roof has the responsibility to keep the home, clean – so assign chores and days and times to do them; every home needs to have trash taken out – so assign a person do that job and rotate it, and that includes getting the cans to the curb and bringing them back up to their proper storage place. What about doing the dishes? Well, share the chore, maybe the cook does the cleanup. A nice table set for a family meal is a blessing. Teach your family how to fold a napkin, set the table, cut a flower or two and put it in a vase on the table, what about a candle, to make the meal nicer? Set hard and fast rules about mealtime, such as no news, no tv, no cell phones, instead talk to each other and look at each other.
Let’s talk about 13+ teens now. To know what a young adult needs to know before they venture out on their own, you need a list of what they need to be taught. Do you remember when you left home what you knew and what you had to learn on your own? Make a list with your partner and think this through, your child will most likely never say thank-you, but they will be forever grateful that they knew what to do when the time came. So, when you do your bills, have your teen do it with you there, teach them how to think, make decisions, change a flat tire, check tire pressure, learn how to read documents before they sign something, how to use a credit card, how to purchase insurance, what deductibles are, how to negotiate payments, buy a car, buy a home, or rent an apartment, how to buy furniture, how to compare bank and loan and mortgage rates. Teach your children about technology, how to buy it, how routers work, and so on. Let them know what pitfalls you encountered and how you learned from them. Help them to see the value in preparing for tough times ahead. Tell them stories of how you, as a youngster, lived through some of the things in your lifetime. Healthcare is a maze of confusion; it helps them to learn how to navigate it.
As a family, exercise together even if it is silly dancing and singing, keep your family’s spiritual practices alive, pray together no matter what faith you follow, this is a time that binds. Facetime your family, friends, and extended family often. If you have a yard, work together out in the yard and get your vitamin D together. This teaches taking pride in your home to your kids of all ages.
Probably the thing that is the hardest to do is work from home while managing your children who are learning from home via distance learning. Even college students are learning long distance. As a parent, it is important to have good internet plans because all those devices are going at the same time, cause havoc on the bandwidth. Nightly I see news reports on how often you need to replace your router and have an awareness of what is being used in your household at any given time. This segment of your family’s day is probably the hardest to schedule and determine space requirements for no matter in your live, in small apartment or a suburban home. Each person has a learning style, and space requirements, and other needs that their sibling may not have. Then you have those little ones who are terrorizing everybody, not paying attention to them.
I know it is so hard, but you can do it. Get creative, make a schedule for your family, and be flexible. Adjust it as needed. It’s been 30 days since this whole lifestyle change put us at home. It is now time to stop and regroup. Schools are out for the year. Kids still need to learn. Life must go on. Sit down with your family and have a “Family Meeting” with pizza and other foods you love. Let each person have a turn to talk, yes even the smallest has an opinion. Ask each person what they like, what they don’t like, what they are afraid of, what worries them, and write these down on small notes like a stickie note. Place all of them up on a big window or wall where you are sitting. Ask for ideas of how your new normal might work better for each person or what you can do as a parent to ease the fear inside your kids.
Make a big calendar. If you need ideas, just look at Pinterest or Google. Get creative. Decide and try it for one week. Get everybody to buy-in. If it doesn’t work, start again and revise.
In closing here, there are three things to remember:
- Make sure everyone under your roof gets enough rest and sleep. [that means, all devices are locked up someplace recharging, and that all those bedrooms are as comfortable as possible, free from noise, warm/cool enough, and dark for optimum sleep.]
- Have FUN with your family. No one wants to live in a doom and gloom environment. [that means to get outside in your yard, laugh, play games, walk your dog, have a family fun night, and so on.]
- Hug and kiss and tell everyone under your roof how much you love them. Adults, teens, and children all need to know they are loved and valued. [you can do this by identifying the love language of everyone in your home, write a note and put it where they will find it, say thank you each time someone does something great, catch them doing good, surprise them in some way.]
I’d like to hear from you!
Janice Bastani Coaching offers customized solutions for you and your team to resource and equips you to be a “Great Leader.” When you are ready, we are here to help, send an email to begin the process: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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