This past year brought a lot of new challenges; I don’t really need to remind any of you. I am sure that they are just as pressing and present for many of you as they are for me, and our kids. Working in high -risk situations, working at home, losing employment, financial distress, parenting, schooling at home, staying at home, masking/unmasking drama, sociopolitical unrest…did it ever stop?
It might not have for many of us. However, for some of us, there is a chance that it affected us slightly differently. Perhaps all of these challenges were slightly less pressing and present all day, or that it did not cause panic, sleep disruptions, outbursts, or other feelings of unrest, anger, and helplessness every single day. That is part of our resilience and adaptability as humans, to have the effect of our experiences change even if the circumstances don’t, and part of understanding how we can help kids with their own mental emotional health.
The challenges don’t go away, perhaps they become different challenges. Or are influenced by new or ongoing developments like food scarcity, fatigue, home life distress, or low or no access to services. But mental-emotional well-being can grow from understanding that we are all multifactorial, we are not simply our behaviors. Neither are our kids. And just as our circumstances and experiences can change, so can our behaviors when we understand that they are symptoms, never the whole picture.
This year, while transitioning to working full-time at home and relinquishing all of my other social and professional involvements to parent and school a kiddo at home, I also had the opportunity to work closely with a team of faculty, community advisors, and incredibly dedicated educators in the Renton School District.
Our project will hopefully get at exactly what I am musing about above. Our kids are never just their behaviors; our educators are also whole humans who are not just their jobs or titles.
Check out this article regarding our work this year: Developing a K-12 behavioral health program – January 2021 – News – UW Bothell