Did you ever imagine you’d find yourself contemplating home schooling your kiddos? With only 1 – 2% of North American children home schooled in the BeforeTimes, this option may not have been high on your priority list.
And here we are. 2020 and in the midst of a pandemic. “Do I send my child back to school?” has become the most pressing decision of the summer.
Confusion, overwhelm, outright fear
What arises in you when you face into this question with your family?
And do you have a process for discerning a way forward when emotions are high, information is confusing and even conflicting, and all you really wish for is a set routine? Something that feels normal. Familiar. Do you find that your thoughts run away with the what-if-s and how-to-s and I-can’t-even-s of the thing?
Making this decision may run along a gentler path than you’ve imagined.
Discerning what is right for you
What if your Inner Teacher is present with you in this? Inner Wisdom (you might call this the Holy Spirit, your gut, your truest Self) is a reliable guide. What if you can trust yourself to make this choice?
‘Not sure how to hear what your inner compass has to say? This may help…
Begin with a little compassion
Start by turning your attention toward your Self. It’s ok — the dishes and floors and backyard and scraped knees and tomorrow’s work day can wait for 15 minutes. Give yourself permission to settle into a comfortable chair for just a few minutes.
And breathe. Deeply. Slowly.
Just.breathe. Notice what happens in your body when you quiet in this way. What are you feeling in your head? Your shoulders and back?
Giving yourself this permission acts like a re-set for your brain and body. Your mind may be noisy and bossy — demanding that you get back to yourveryimportantday — and it’s okay to to shelve all of that and sink into this moment of listening to your life. For the answer to this one question.
What am I listening for?
As you settle into your body and into your breath, allowing your thoughts to quiet (don’t worry — we’ll get back to overthinking soon enough!) you may experience a different kind of clarity in your thinking?
You’re listening for the thought, the image, the feeling that opens you up. You’re listening for the, “Yes!” The thing that feels like deep breath, spaciousness, safety.
Not sure what that’s like? Imagine that you’ve just received a speeding ticket in the mail. What does that feel like? Tense. Tight. Self-punishing. Angry. Closed off.
Now imagine the feeling of taking a long, cool drink on a hot day. Or what the smell of fresh cut grass feels like. Imagine the sensation of learning that your offering of love or support was genuinely helpful for your loved one. Recall those feelings of reassurance, nourishment, relaxation. Calm. Openness. “Yes!”
Could the answer to, “Do I send my child back to school during a pandemic?” be held by this kind of knowing?
As you settle in comfortably to your chair, breathing deeply, ask yourself the question.
What happens in your body if you say, “Yes. I’m going to send my child into the classroom?” What happens with your breath? Do you feel opened up, reassured, calm? Do you feel a wave of anxiety or a strong, “Don’t do it!”?
Ask yourself the same question and reply within yourself, “I’m going to school my child at home instead.” Notice what arises in you, in the quiet…from the deepest part of you.
It’s not working!
If sitting in the quiet, noticing your breath, or listening to your Inner Wisdom is unfamiliar, it may seem like this isn’t “working” for you. You might try:
- Spend a day holding only the “Yes, I’m going to send my child back to school,” in your mind. Go about the day as if that is your decision. Notice: what happens in you when you stay with that answer. Do the same for the “No way! My kid is doing school at home.” Notice, notice, notice. What does this choice feel like?
- Take a day off from social media. Give your heart and mind permission to step back from the steady stream of importantinformation! and advice. Spend this one day listening only to your own inner voice, attending to your own interior life.
- Ask your Self, “What do I need right now?” In a quiet moment, maybe with your hand resting on your heart, ask, “What does my son/daughter need?”
And simply notice. Notice all of the feelings. Your emotions are not your adversaries. They’re your teachers and they can be helpful guides. My own spiritual director might say something like, “Listen to each feeling. Walk around it. Really look at it. Ask it, ‘What are you trying to tell me?’” And trust the answers that come.
No need to go it alone
Feeling some resistance to this process? That might sound like, “I don’t have time for this!” or, “My mind won’t shut off — my thoughts are a runaway train.”
My own experience of this is that
I need help to sink into this kind of discernment. I can’t do it alone.
We’re here to support this process. It may be helpful to join us for a contemplative walk on a Tuesday morning. Or to book a session and give yourself an hour of uninterrupted permission to listen for your own life. No disruption. No advice. Just a spacious, non-judgmental hour of hearing what is true of you.
Or ask a friend to participate in this discernment with you. Walking alongside Another provides clarity, kindness, and nourishment for our souls.