One of the benefits of COVID has been helping us experience compassion and concern for others in our school community. Never in modern life has the idiom “It takes a village” been more apt. Dealing with a pandemic has given us the ability to admire each other for our abilities to persist in the face of so many obstacles. Having been through many hard experiences together, we have more capacity for empathizing and offering support to one another, a harbinger of a possible future change when it will be endemic to naturally help one another.
It is well documented that undergoing challenging situations, like a pandemic, can undermine our feelings of competence and self-worth. Some days we wonder how we can possibly cope with everything life throws our way. Even parenting can seem like an impossible job. Most of us have unreachably high standards and the tendency to feel guilty when we fall short. “I just yelled at my child, when all I wanted was a great afternoon together.”
In addition, when children are experiencing developmental struggles, it’s easy to experience a sense of discouragement. “Will he be going through this forever?”
Yet in a loving, supportive environment, teachers and parents can partner to adopt a growth mindset, viewing challenges and mistakes as an important source of learning.
One tool for maintaining an expanded, more self-valuing perspective is the use of positive affirmations. Research shows that self-affirmations not only reduce stress and give people a broader perspective, they positively affect brain functioning. When situations feel threatening, self-affirmations can help us reflect on important sources of self-worth and core values. One of the healing aspects of repeating affirmations daily is that they program our minds to step out of our habitual negative thought patterns, like worrying about the future.
Here are some a few examples of affirmations that can help us maintain positive feelings of self-worth even in difficult situations:
My efforts now will make a big difference in the long run.
It’s okay to accept help when it’s offered. I don’t have to do this all on my own.
I can stay calm even when my child is upset.
My children need me to take care of myself.
My child being angry doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong.
When we learn about the power of affirmations, we gain the ability to help children think positively about themselves even in hard situations. They can practice positive affirmations too. One of the many wonderful aspects of our school community is that we get to know children over many years and watch their individuality emerge. We are indeed a whole village cheering them on to know and believe in who they are.