By Chelsea Campbell-Ellis
Usually when a pilot instructs passengers to brace for impact it is in the wake of impending
turbulence. Additionally, it is at this time that the passengers seek extra support for any
looming doom. To minimize harm, support is often evinced by a fastened seat belt or the
reassuring instructions from the flight attendants.
While we brace for impact from COVID-19 given its daily spike, our nation’s children must
fasten their attention to engage in total online learning as of October 5, 2020. The
combination of learning online in quarantine, as students soar to achieve educational
greatness is tantamount to turbulence. To allay their fears during their journey to
destination success, parents must support them as they navigate this new normal of total
The announcement by the newly appointed Minister of Education, Fayval Williams, came
with mixed emotions. Understandably, some students and some parents are disappointed
that their social and professional lives are again disrupted, if not halted. However, let us not forget that prudence must reign supreme in this matter and in light of the daily spikes, online schooling is the best solution for everyone.
It cannot be ignored that making the transition from brick and mortar despite the brief rehearsal in March will continue to be a challenge for many, especially those who reside in areas where internet penetration is rather spotty. Since these are not normal times, then normal strategies cannot be implemented to resolve all the issues that are strengthened as a result of the pandemic.
In light of this, all hands must come on deck and all the stakeholders must work
indefatigably to help students cope and excel. Inter alia, parents’ support will play a critical
role in their children’s success in learning during these unprecedented times. I commend those parents who have from the very conception of their children been nothing but hands-on parents who invest time and support in their lives.
These are the parents who show up at schools, meet the teachers, know the grade or class their child is in and know the very topics at least, that the child does as time progresses. Your involvement has not only communicated your love to your child but it has been in some cases their voice of clarity, confidence and accountability. And what a difference it has made since many of these students often do well since they are cognizant of the fact that mediocrity will not be tolerated!
I wish to encourage all parents to be relentless in giving support to their children. In fact, if there was ever a time they needed your support, it is now. Moreover, I challenge the spectator parents who find Netflix and social media or gossiping more attractive and important than investing their time in their children’s welfare, to pivot and perform their roles as effectively as parents and mentors who are committed to nurturing greatness.
Undoubtedly, you don’t have to know the content to be patient, tolerant and supportive.
Sometimes all that is required is your sincere interest and a listening ear. Parents, I implore you to bolster your children psychologically as many of them are not armed with the mental maturity to deal with all the emotional turbulence that COVID-19 has unleashed on them.
Yes! I am cognizant that parents too are impacted and their jobs are important but so too is your child. I urge you not to stand on the sidelines and complain or blame others when things are less than perfect as they transition online. Instead, be present in their new world. I beseech you to use social media to your advantage and be innovative in providing support. As best as possible network with parent groups and other stakeholders who can assist with content that might be deemed difficult and share same on social media.
It is important to note that, although students will be away from physical school, the
standards for learning have in no way waned. In light of this, provide support by preparing
your children mentally. In fact, let them wake up punctually to your affirmation thought or
act in the mornings. This could take the form of a hand written note placed in their note
books or a voice note sent to their phones. Just convince them of your love and support.
Sometimes all that is required is “I love you. Do your best in class today. I am proud of you.”
Certainly, the stresses of life now are real among other problems that we all have to grapple with but ‘encouragement sweeten labour’ for everyone. Show your children kindness and incentivize their effort. Often times the recalcitrant child can be pacified with love and attention.
Have date evenings with them and give them opportunities to ventilate their
issues. Be their safe sound board. Insert fun in their lives and check their progress daily,
weekly or bi-monthly. Never fail to recognize that they are at times, overwhelmed and
scared. Additionally, provide them with assurance for a better and brighter tomorrow and refrain from displacing any form of frustrations or anger on them.
Parents, your children are people who deserve to be treated humanely. It is important to
establish your realistic standards for their learning. Use this time to forge more meaningful relationships with them. Also, seize every opportunity to cement their relationship with God as well. Going online for all their classes will be new for some of them. Do not berate them during class time. Make the experience less arduous and administer correction, discipline or reprimand outside of the earshot of classes.
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