“How was your spring break?” This question floated into my office from the hallway as two lower school students conversed walking to class on the first day of school. I couldn't help but smile under my mask as this was such a reminder that kids have the uncanny ability to pick up right where they left off. If you don’t remember, or if you are new to our community, when our students headed to carpool on the Thursday before Spring Break, they were expecting to come to school that Friday for our annual Multicultural Festival before dispersing for a much anticipated week off. Little did they (or we) know that the next time they walked down the hallway they would be five months older, a few inches taller, and in a new grade with a new teacher.
Since the endless Spring Break, so much has unfolded in our homes, nation and world. Things that I only thought possible in Hollywood films became a part of my daily life and the lives of my children. I don’t know about you, but there were times I would look at my children wearing masks in the checkout line and my heart would sink thinking that this is their reality. Or when my 6-year-old daughter said things like “Mama, do you remember those days when my friends came over to play at our house?” It was as if “the good ole days” were in the rearview mirror and at such a young age. That hurt my heart, but it also made me pause and look up to remember what I know to be true because what is true always pushes me to hope and hope does not disappoint.
I began asking the Lord for a new perspective - and I don’t mean the cliche finding the silver lining but more so asking Him to show me the qualities developing in my children and students that may have taken years to cultivate had it not been for this collective struggle. It is always helpful to find meaning in the work the Lord is doing. Trials certainly have a way of catapulting growth; my hope is that you, too, have been able to see these characteristics growing in the hearts of your children:
Empathy - This pandemic has conditioned our students to consider others and look out for the welfare of their friends and family. They have been challenged to do things that are inconvenient and uncomfortable for the sake of protecting loved ones and their community.
The Lord is shaping tender hearts that look out for the interests of others.
Flexibility - Many of our students who thrive in routine and predictability have been forced to sit in the discomfort of the unknown. This has produced resilience and courage in children who have grown up in an information overload world where Siri and Alexa are at their beck and call. They are used to having answers and it seems this pandemic has left us with only more questions.
The Lord is developing children of faith.
Sacrifice - Our students have missed out on vacations, celebrations and milestones. They have learned what it feels like to sacrifice for the greater good. Those losses and disappointments can be hard to watch as parents, but I think it teaches a vital lesson of surrender that we often wouldn’t choose.
The Lord is teaching our children to be more like Jesus.
These times have left an indelible impression on these young lives, but my prayer is that we can rest in His promises that “He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).” In many ways this season feels like a marathon with no finish line, but may we have hope in His sovereignty that He is growing our children to have a heart for Him and a heart for others. Please let me know if I can support your family in any way as we walk through these uncertainties together.
Angela Liner (’00)
Lower School Counselor