This is a strange end to the school year. This week, the boys are wrapping up 2nd and 3rd grades, but there are no pictures of them wearing their backpack on the way out the door for the last day of school. It is a milestone, without our traditions.
We have missed out on many of our favorites from the school year–field trips, spring concerts/plays, sports, last day of school parties or graduations. Nothing has gone as expected for us and our kiddos in this season. There has been a lot of loss.
At the same time, there have been new opportunities. Lots of time at home together, a break from the busyness of running from one engagement to the next, family meal times (multiple times a day!), and a less rigid routine have provided more windows for joy and sharing. We have had a front row seat to our children’s growth; and while day in and day out it can be hard to see, reflecting from the beginning to the end of this season, it is surprising to see how much growth has happened.
This week the kids have talked about what they have missed about being at school and also what they have enjoyed about being at home. I have asked them how they see growth in themselves and shared with them the growth I have seen in them. It has been a chance to reflect on what was satisfying and what was not from this season as we look back together.
We have talked before about what they have missed about school (seeing friends, their teachers, recess, gym, etc.), but it has been fun to hear what the kids have enjoyed about being home (not having to wake up early for school, more play time, more time with each other, the fun routine they created for their afternoons).
I would encourage you to have a similar conversation with your kiddos. Since what they are missing is likely at the forefront of their minds, start there; but after you have shared their sadness over what they are missing, ask them what they have enjoyed about being home. It may help to make suggestions (less routine, sleeping in, family time, movie nights, everyone home, or whatever else you have noticed they have enjoyed during this time).
Having a conversation about how they have grown (in maturity, spiritually, physically or academically) can also be enlightening. Perhaps they can make hoops more consistently in basketball, subtraction is getting easier, they have found a love for reading, they are better at managing their time, or have enjoyed talking to Jesus; all of these are areas of growth they might notice (or you might be able to point out to them). There is satisfaction in noticing how we have grown, and perhaps even more satisfaction for our kids when we notice and express to them how they have grown.
In this season where nothing has gone as expected, it can be especially important to celebrate the victories. Acknowledging growth and finding things we have enjoyed in the midst of all the changes can help us find a sense of satisfaction in the midst of all of the disappointments.