To wear or not wear the face mask, has become the question. Standing in line at Glenview’s Dairy Bar Sunday afternoon gave me a chance to do some people watching. The couple behind me both had their home made masks on, one with a big floral print. The couple in front of me, one had a mask on the other did not. The students in front of them had masks on snug around their ears but pulled down under their chins.
Wearing or not wearing a mask can mean a variety of things that we cannot deduce simply by people watching. Was the couple in front of me from two different political persuasions, believing two different perspectives on the virus, or was one an asthmatic? The students clearly knew they needed a mask to at least be served but chose not to cover their nose or mouths. I was the only one who read into the instructions and waited in line alone. It is easy for me to be gentle and generous with people around me who make their choices, but it is really challenging to be a parent and explain it all.
Balance in family life is supported by attentive and reflective listening. Misunderstandings often stem from not listening fully to each other.
Winnie the Pooh often gets in these everyday muddles. One example is when Christopher Robin leaves a note for Winnie the Pooh that says, “Gone out, busy. Back Soon. C.R.” and poor Pooh gets confused and thinks a monster named ‘Backsoon” has taken his dear friend away. Pooh goes on to alarm everyone else and together they imagine a large purple scary monster named Backsoon has abducted Christopher.
When Chad and I got married, the pastor read from the children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit. He read these lines,
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
On a walk the other day, I asked Mabel to describe what sheltering at home has been like for her with a metaphor or simile. At first she said, “MOOOOOOM, quit being a priest.” Then after some time she piped up, “It’s like I used to be able to go where I wanted and now I am like a dog on a leash.” You said it Mabel, we all feel cooped up, corralled, and confined.
As parents we have great power for our children. We can support the integration of their experiences of being cooped up into resources for a more resilient spirit.