Never has a word inspired so much angst as it does right now — especially for Gen X-ers. We are a generation of people who‘ve always taken responsibility for ourselves and our families. We are resilient. We are strong. We are scrappy. Now we’re being tasked to take on more responsibility than we can handle, and it just might be the end of us.
Imagine for a moment that the entire planet was forced to be stuck at home all the time. Imagine that sports stopped, social activities ended, and you couldn’t go to the store or see people. Imagine that schools closed, and your kids were forced to be at home with you all day. All. Day. All of the time. Imagine your school district had no plan to handle teaching remotely and they thrust the primary responsibility of teaching into your untrained and probably capable but unprepared hands. Now, realize this is not imagination. This is fact.
To those empty nesters whose children have flown the coop: You will never understand our pain. Our children are our light. They are our heart. They are the center of our soul.
And they are here. All. Of. The. Time. They ask a million questions, and for help with math and science experiments. Their teachers used to help them, but now those teachers are sheltering in place just like us.
Those teachers are far more equipped to teach their kids from home. Their kids will be OK. Mine are stuck with us. We are balancing work responsibilities and endless video calls with being responsible parents, on-demand chefs and educators en masse. This is not easy. It might just break us down.
You think I jest. I do not. I live in what is probably the only school district in California, and possibly the United States, that did not have a plan for distance learning. The district was unprepared and stopped us from getting its materials that ominous final day of school. They have only recently begun doing online video chats to review what they already did. Then, with the nerve of a thousand professional referees staring into the face of Dennis Rodman having a tirade, they wished us a fun spring break. Spring break, you say? Ahh… that welcome respite from what. exactly?
I think teachers should be paid more, so don’t get me wrong. I also think school districts should have a plan and that the administrative staff of those districts should be held accountable for their work.
Did I mention that our superintendent announced his retirement last week? Right in the middle of the district telling us we are responsible for the educational well-being and preparedness of our children the remainder of this school year, he retired or resigned -- or as I tend to think, was forced to leave. Conspiracy theories aside, this is a bizarre and unfortunate situation.
So, with that, we smile and move forward. My wife prepares a curriculum and a schedule that will guide our children toward endless knowledge. She is the primary educator, while I help with whatever I can. They will be the better for it, and we will be tired.
We will do our best, and we will raise the boom box over our heads, blasting “In Your Eyes” for anyone who will hear it, looking longingly into the distance and proclaiming our fondness for the future of this yet-to-be named generation.
Cheers to all you parents who are doing your best this month. Know that you are not alone, and we are all in this together!