There are two kinds of people in the world:
- Those who allow their environments to influence their enthusiasm.
- Those who allow their enthusiasm to influence their environment.
With the steady flow of COVID-19 cases being confirmed in Central Florida and throughout the state, there has been a wide range of emotions expressed from both parents and kids about starting back to school. For many, there is a strong desire to get back to normal activities on everyone’s part. However, only if it’s safe! There has also been a strong case presented that schools should wait until COVID-19 cases rapidly decline or for a vaccine before kids start back to school. On the other hand, there is a strong case that shows getting back to school is a smart thing to do on many levels as long as precautionary measures are put in place to ensure safety for the teachers and students.
With the decision made to allow students the opportunity to go back to school, whether it’s in-person or virtually from home, there is one virtue that is essential to make this school year the best it can be. It’s the word “enthusiasm.” Enthusiasm is a fascinating virtue or spirit that is difficult to explain but easy to see in others. Why is having a spirit of enthusiasm toward the school year important? Because we will either let our environment and circumstances influence our enthusiasm or let our enthusiasm influence our environment. Either way, your kids will take their cues from you!
There are three things that cause what I call “enthusiasm spasms” in your life, home, school, work, relationships, or wherever you occupy space.
Worry is an intense concern about something that may or may not happen. Studies show that most of the stuff we worry about never happens. So why spend unnecessary energy worrying about stuff that will probably never happen? Worry is like acid. It will eat your enthusiasm alive and cause serious enthusiasm spasms in your life.
I define stress as worry on steroids. It’s an intense strain about something that seems out of control in our lives. The Latin root word for “anxious” means “to choke, to strangle, to pull in different directions.” This is what many of us are feeling right now about our kids’ schooling this fall. Anxiety and stress have the potential to “choke” the enthusiasm right out of you and your kids. Stress, which often follows intense and prolonged worry, can cause another enthusiasm spasm …
The three greatest fears we have in life are death, loneliness, and failure. The truth is, we all deal with fear on a daily basis. The issue is how we choose to deal with it. If we’re not careful, we can allow fear to control our lives.
What is the antidote to the enthusiasm spasms of worry, stress and fear? It’s trust. Helping our kids trust that the systems, policies, safety protocols, teachers, and administrators are doing their best to ensure your school experience is safe and positive. Will it be perfect? No! Can it be positive? Yes! It depends on our perspective and the choice to remain enthusiastic and optimistic.
Below are two ways to help your kids remain enthusiastic and optimistic in light of the challenging circumstances this school year.
1. BE INTENTIONAL.
Set the tone. Remember, enthusiasm is a choice. Rather than allowing your kids to focus on the problems, help them to focus on the possibilities that can come from this school year. As challenging as it will be at times, we have to choose to enthuse.
2. BE INSPIRATIONAL.
Like us, our kids are going to face discouragement from difficulties and disappointments that will come. Not only will they need encouragement from you, they will need to be inspired to push through the hardships and challenges that come their way. Give them affirmation by writing them notes and speaking words of encouragement; lending support will help them keep at it and keep their enthusiasm high. As parents and families, let’s choose to enthuse. Let’s remain optimistic and enthusiastic about the possibilities in front of us.