We need more voices like that of Dr. Hope Seidel who is a pediatrician in Cary, North Carolina. She recently posted a video on her practice’s Facebook page in which she says that for the last few weeks she and her partners have been getting one question repeatedly from parents.
And that question is if schools reopen, what should I do, should I send my kid back to school?
Her answer is both soothing and empowering and it makes perfect sense. The answer is that you should follow your gut. The answer is that no two families have exactly the same situation with their kids, their living arrangements and their life circumstances. So we all have to do the best we can for ourselves and our loved ones with the information we currently have.
Dr. Seidel says that the only thing all of her callers share is fear, they are all fearful of making the wrong decision. So she says:
“The decision that you make about school is the right decision. That’s it. There is no wrong decision…All of the decisions have a loss of what was and all have positive options. How you choose to think about the decision you make is what will make it right.”
Her answer is brilliant in its simplicity. She goes on to say that since none of us can see what the future holds once her patients decide she encourages them to fully embrace that decision. In other words, make a decision and then decide to be okay with it.
Even though I am not a medical doctor, I would add don’t try to convince anyone of the rectitude of your decision. And even more importantly, don’t judge other parents’ choices. She asks people to please “Stop marinating in fear.”
We know only one thing for certain, there is no right here and all we can do is do the best we can. If it’s ends up being the wrong decision, we’ll adjust it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement in July strongly advocating for a return to school. But, let’s all take a deep breath and decide to be okay with ourselves and with everyone else. That is the only way any of this is going to work.
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