There is a silver lining in this pandemic!
Omicron is breaking new highs every day. The onslaught of the fifth wave of this pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to Hong Kong and overwhelmed the city’s handling capacity. We have all come this far having gotten used to wearing masks, working from home, and having our kids doing zoom lessons all day long.
However, just when children were expected back in the classroom, they now face the prospect of having early “summer holidays” in the Spring and Easter terms. This Omicron surge is making life more unpredictable and these new school disruptions are stressing out all the already burned-out parents. We might, therefore, feel cheated and overwhelmingly concerned that our children are falling behind during school closures.
When life seems to be messing with us all, it is actually a perfect opportunity for us to teach our kids the importance of a positive mindset. There is overwhelming evidence from research in positive psychology that people who are happy are more successful. I am not going to elaborate on this because I am pretty sure tons of studies have been done on this and are easily accessible on the internet. Also, positivity doesn’t always refer to simply smiling and looking cheerful; positivity is more about one’s overall perspective on life and the tendency to focus on all that is good in life and be grateful.
In fact, before the pandemic, many parents were busy working and seldom stayed home with their children. Now, we have the perfect opportunity. We want our children to grow up strong, since they will be our future leaders. Do not despair, for our kids are learning valuable lessons at a young age, which we are now learning in adulthood. We have the perfect chance to interact closely with our children, to learn and to grow together with them.
Hence, with a positive mindset, what are the traits that we can develop or learn exactly? Let’s brainstorm a few:
ACCEPTANCE: acknowledging that things don’t always turn out the way we want them to, a willingness to tolerate a difficult situation. Rather than living in denial, we accept the fact that due to Omicron’s surging cases, schools will be disrupted, so we need to look for alternative ways to keep learning and improving, instead of complaining or whining about it. Without acceptance, one cannot improve or move forward. As we always say, no matter your past, you can always change your future. The future is now, starting from this very moment.
OPTIMISM: a belief that we are stronger than our problems, a willingness to make an effort and take a chance, rather than assuming our efforts won’t pay off. Actually, when we are optimistic and view current hardships as temporary and transitional, the situation becomes more bearable. We are more willing to try alternate solutions, and we accept failure as we know it as just part of the growing process.
RESILIENCE: we bite the bullet and face adversity head on. We bounce back from adversity, disappointment, and failure instead of giving up. We keep doing our best in our work and studies; we focus on our goals and charge bravely towards them. We grab every opportunity possible along the way and overcome one challenge after the other.
INTEGRITY: the trait of being honorable, righteous, and straightforward, instead of deceitful and selfish. We do not slack off when working from home; children do not get lazy or slack off thinking that no teachers are monitoring their progress.
All of the above characteristics of positive mindset, we can demonstrate personally to our children during this pandemic. Do you remember the children’s story, The Little Engine That Could? With the mindset of “I think I can, I think I can,” the Little Blue Engine could! It pulled a long train up a tall mountain when other engines wouldn’t even try. Studies have shown that this same positive mindset has a direct connection to academic success and is linked to a greater sense of wellbeing.
As mentioned earlier, building a positive framework for our thoughts is not about being bubbly and annoyingly cheerful, but making an investment in ourselves and our future. Above all, it’s about increasing our control over our own attitude in the face of whatever comes our way. We cannot control our mood, and we cannot always control the thoughts that pop into our head, yet we can choose how we handle them.
When we choose to give in to the negativity, pessimism, we are not only submitting to a loss of control and potentially wallowing in unhappiness—we are missing out on an important opportunity for growth and development.
Last but not least, I hope that this short message can help not only cheer ourselves up but also enable all of us to see the silver lining in this pandemic. Our, as adults, mindsets during this pandemic have a profound influence on our children. It’s okay to feel down or think pessimistically sometimes, but choosing to respond with acceptance, optimism, resilience, and integrity will benefit us far more in the long run. Now could be the right time to “reset” our own attitudes and ready ourselves for a powerful transformation.
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