What you focus on expands

There is no doubt that right now everything feels up in the air. This age-old saying has never felt so apt.

I have been sitting on the sidelines and observing, listening to the various actions and words of others over the past week. I have experienced uncertainty and immense disappointment like others. Having to cancel an international school tour I had been planning for a year was a serious Debbie downer moment!

But there has been a silver lining. In fact, there have been many. Yah! Time with my family and time to work on a project that benefits from all I can give to it.

We have been (like all other businesses and families) thrown into pandemic planning mode, second-guessing our domestic and future international travel plans, preparing to operate our services remotely and on a personal note, thinking about what this will mean for one particular son who is in year 11. NCEA level 1 pending.

I encourage you to stop for a moment. Consider where your focus has been. What have your actions and words taught your children? How do you want your children to feel during this time? What do you want them to learn from this very real international situation?

Have you been freaking out?
Frantically Stockpiling? 
Hovering over your children like a chopper ready to take off? 
Are you living on social media for updates?

We know we can’t control this situation (individually) but we can control how we respond, how we communicate, how we collaborate, how we connect and how we take time to teach our children the skills we wouldn’t have, should this not have occurred.

With limitations on social gatherings and community events, we look to other ways to spend our time. Let’s not push them to use all this time to focus on developing their areas of challenge. Of course, keep up their normal routines for learning activities, but please, don’t try to push extra onto them just because. It is natural for us to go here from sheer desperation. We may see a glimpse of increased opportunity to help them.

Relax, breath, stay calm and have some FUN.
Have fun with your babies (big and small), teach them to cook, to build, to sew, to complete a puzzle, to paint a picture in a new medium, to sing, to dance, or to play a card game they haven’t before. Turn those frowns upside down.

Parenting and teaching a child or children (particularly one with a learning difference and sensory challenges) never got so real. Everything we do and say during these times is what they will remember. So many opportunities for teaching and potentially so much time to teach them new skills.

We are all in this together. Let’s uplift one another. Be kind, be thoughtful, be conscious of your words and actions. Be the person you want your children to be.

Covid 19 — My focus is to keep continuity, stay connected, have fun and to increase collaboration. How about you?


Carla McNeil

Carla is the Founder and Director of Learning MATTERS Ltd. Carla has been a successful school Principal, Mathematics Advisor and Classroom teacher.


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