When did school become parents’ responsibility?

  • Howard Feldman 2018
Last Friday marked a week that my daughter, Abby, who is 15, wasn’t at school. COVID-19 has closed her high school, which means that she is ours for the foreseeable future.
by HOWARD FELDMAN | Mar 26, 2020

Last Friday also marked a week of struggling to get her set up so that no precious time would be wasted and she could become a professor of something or other before August this year.

Aided by more technology than has been used to land a man on the moon (I fact checked that), it took a frustrating three days before Abby was finally ready to drink from the well of education that we would now be dipping into (along with the school).

Enthusiastic teachers ensured that time didn’t pass wastefully, and that Abby’s youth wasn’t to be wasted on her young mind.

And just like that, “Zoom” became a new household word, along with “social distancing” and knowledge of the ingredients found in hand sanitiser with more than a 60% alcohol base.

Advice was plentiful. “Make sure there is routine. Make sure that there is time for breaks. Make sure that the day is as normal as it always is.” Seriously! School has been cancelled because a crafty Wuhan-produced virus is stalking us all with the evil intention of collapsing our lungs, but we must make sure that for Abby, it’s business as usual?

Does that mean on Friday, we should dress her in her school blazer, face shiny and hair tied up, sitting in assembly (to be held on the patio)? Is Friday to see her receive an award for being the top of her one-person class? Should my 18-year-old son be the inspirational guest speaker? He can recount the story of the day when he beat my other son at FIFA2018 on PlayStation. All this when we consider having her out of bed and dressed by 09:00 a spectacular achievement and testimony to our parenting.

We are living in the strangest of times. Our stress levels are cosmic, and our worry is real. Our children aren’t shielded from it. It has had as much of an impact on their lives – or maybe even more – than it has had on ours.

Of course, routine and education are important, and of course, we are blessed to be surrounded by caring educators who take their responsibility very seriously.

But, as parents, we also need to see this period for what it is. It’s a time in our children’s lives that they will never forget. It will shape them, and it will change them. It will determine how they respond to adversity and to challenge. I believe that as important as the Russian Revolution is, helping them to process what is going on around them is of infinitely greater importance.

That said, I have a feeling that Abby is going to win the history prize this week.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Bernice 27 Mar
    217XBBRILLIANT!, Howard, as always. Just with the right amount of humour in the seriousness of our situation. I fully agree with your outlook on this! Take care and stay healthy


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