How do you soldier on in this pandemic?
The world still awaits the discovery of a vaccine against COVID-19. Many people are jobless, hopeless, and in despair. That’s the harsh reality that we currently live in.
Unfortunately, the situation we’re in isn’t a nightmare we can wake up from all of a sudden. 2020 has grown dim for many of us because of failed plans, bankrupt businesses, and lower enrollment and student engagement in our schools.
This, for sure, is going to be a long, difficult journey for teachers, students, parents, and people from different walks of life. We’re all suffering together. And yet, each of us has different approaches to how we make it through it all. Every single one of us has our own strategy to either just survive or thrive in this global pandemic.
I take comfort and wisdom from psychiatrist, neurologist, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s quote:
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”Viktor Frankl
Frankl suffered great personal loss and trauma in the Holocaust but his relationship to these experiences allowed him to thrive as a scholar, author, and father for decades afterwards.
Here and now, we’re all given a choice: in our everyday suffering, do we choose to be bitter or better? To help us choose to be better, I propose applying the three G’s: Gratitude, Grit, and Growth.
Let’s all stay grateful. I know some of us have lost dear ones in the wake of this pandemic. But Yale University psychology professor, Laurie Santos, Ph.D., highly recommends that we choose to stay grateful amid our present suffering. She says in this Trained Spotify podcast, that, based on research, writing down 3 to 5 things you’re grateful for each day can make you feel a whole lot better within just two weeks. We cannot control our current situation, but at least we can control the state of our emotions. Because after all, other people really do have it worse.
Another fellow teacher, psychologist, and popular science author, Angela Duckworth, defines grit as the power of passion and perseverance. We’re all cornered in some ways by this inescapable situation. Are we just going to let it leave us as we are: sad, broken, and desperate? Or are we going to give it a good fight like a boxer in the ring, beaten and bruised but still fighting to the finish? Better yet, let us be teachers who get creative, making the best out of the tools, resources, and knowledge that we have.
There is no better time to grow than in the here and now. Butterflies grow in the painful process of metamorphosis. A child is born into the world through intense labor and pain. A revolution happens when we’re finally tired of just merely getting by with the situation we find ourselves in that we raise our voices and impact the change that we want to see in our world.
Teaching is not the mother of all professions for nothing.
This generation and the generations after beckon us to dare greatly, to become the best version of ourselves at a time and place where we are chosen to rise and shine. Googling information isn’t the only way to grow. This also means taking advantage of school trainings and seeking free or affordable online learning. Our students look upon us with expectant hearts and hungry spirits. Let us become their model of lifelong learning and growth to leave a legacy that will make our world a better place to live in.
Covid-19 has certainly changed how the world studies, works and lives. Hopefully, it also has changed us to become grateful, gritty and still growing through it all.