Tuesday Thoughts from Dr. Ruscitti
As we continue to live in this uncertain and unnerving time, I recall a conversation with a friend discussing how her then young son made it difficult to go to church because he sometimes acted out (as all toddlers do!). Thankfully, my friend's church had a soundproof room in the back where parents with squirmy, noisy children were allowed. My friend said the first week there she noticed a sign that was hung prominently at the front of the room. The sign read, “Crying is Permitted.” At first my friend laughed. But week after week, as she contemplated that sign, she thought about what a gift it was. She said she wished that sign—or at least the message—was conveyed in more areas of life.
We are facing a challenging time as a community, and I want you to know you have permission to be human. You need to put on your own proverbial oxygen mask—and that might look like going for a run, taking a nap, talking to a therapist or clergyman, getting lost in a good book, or having a good cry.
But after you take time to oxygenate yourself, you do the next thing you know to do. As educators, we can rely on two things:
First, we must remember why we went into this field—because we love children. So we love them. We take care of their hearts by helping them to heal from the hurts and disappointments this year has brought to their lives. We listen. We empathize. We let them process.
Second, we rely on our training and our experience. When our own hearts are broken, or we’re not sure what to do next, we go back to what we’ve been taught or know (as a parent, educator, etc.). We teach. We prepare. We do. We get stuff done.
This season won’t last forever. Even as we watch autumn fall into winter, so, too, this season of COVID-19, elections, and general unrest will pass. But while we are in it, I want to encourage you to not waste it. We can come out of this season wiser, stronger, and more empathetic – or we can become bitter, skeptical, judgmental, and fearful. And if I’m honest, it’s easier to choose the latter. We think thoughts like…
- Why did this happen to us?
- Nobody tells the truth! I can’t trust anyone.
- Of course that person got sick—look at the choices he or she made!
- That family is being crazy overprotective. They need to relax and quit telling everyone to wear masks!
- How could he vote for *that* candidate?!
It’s harder to choose life-giving self-talk...
- This is hard, but I’ve been through hard times before, and I always make it through.
- It’s OK for others to think differently than me. I can still respect them even if we disagree.
- I’ll do the research and make the best choices I can for me and my loved ones.
- I will look for the vulnerable in my sphere of influence and do my best to protect and care for them.
Friends, choose the positive. We can’t change the situation we currently face, but we can control our attitudes. We can do this.