Ethan Allen Preparatory, Ridgefield CT

Know What To Do When You
Don’t Know What To Do

More vividly than ever before, we are reminded of this age old obstacle that we face at various times throughout our lives. If you are like me, in your fifties that is, then you have undoubtedly had to figure out a way around, over, under or through this obstacle several times in your life. However, none of us and especially not our children, have faced anything akin to what we are in the middle of right now.  With each day that working, teaching, and learning take place in our homes, the obstacle in front of us seems to grow ever more daunting. 

Recently, I put together a list that has helped navigate this time with less stress and greater happiness.  I believe it translates well to all ages and could be a useful “guide” for us parents. 

1. Focus on the goal– What is your goal for the day, the week or the month? Don’t let what isn’t going wrong in this very moment throw you off the path of achieving your goal. Make your goals impactful yet attainable.

2. Stay true to your values- This is not the time to question your self-worth or your inherent sense of what is right and good for you and your loved ones. At the end of each day, be proud of who you are.

3. Do something– This is not the time for big ideas that will only be stifled by social distancing orders or limited access to resources.  Paint a room, fix the leaky faucet, teach your child a new skill or do anything that has a rewarding outcome.

4. Get feedback– This is definitely not the time to isolate yourself from input.  Almost everything you did prior to March 2020, you are now doing differently.  Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues, your children or your spouse- How am I doing? What am I doing well? In what areas can I be better?

5. Believe in yourself– Trust your instincts.  You have navigated this time successfully thus far so you must be making good decisions.  Your kids, who most likely don’t have the skills to navigate this time as well as you can, have also handled these past two months well and should be reminded of that. They, too, deserve to believe in themselves.

6. Think it through– In the current situation, impulsivity can have exaggerated effects.  We are continuously questioning when it will end and how it will impact me or my family’s future so taking uncalculated risks can be a bigger set back than usual.

Knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do is difficult.  Limiting its potential to create a downward spiral of negativity by adopting a set of “guidelines” or “rules” for yourself and/or loved ones may help you get around, over, under or through your obstacle. Stay healthy and happy.

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