March 27, 2020 - Friday message and some tips & resources (from Mr. Getz)
March 27, 2020
Dear Friends and families,
In the 90's, when I was writing space exploration books for kids, I was able to ask the astronaut, Steve Nagel, what he thought about bringing his wife with him to Mars. To fight the isolation and loneliness. The trip would be six months traveling in dark space, a year and a half on the planet, and another sixth months back to earth in that small space capsule.
"Well the advantage of going with your spouse is that you would be with your spouse. And then again, the disadvantage is you would be with your spouse."
I didn't ask him if would consider bringing his kids.
So how are you all doing after these two weeks? Have you established routines for your families? How is the scheduling going? How is the work we are assigning affecting your daily routines? What are your children struggling with and what is working well? How can we help?
Next week, Amanda and I will be Zooming with each of the grades so we can start collecting experiences and data to make adjustments in what we are doing. We will start to address questions regarding assignments, scheduling, and grading. We will not be able to address issues that are beyond our control, like high school admissions or the Regents.
Next week, we will also be Zooming with our SLT to get more direct parent feedback. We recognize that we have to be flexible here, and we have a very adaptive, wonderful staff. And your children continue to be wonderful. We miss them dearly! We will make this work. Go Tigers, Roar!
I am sharing two things below that I thought may be helpful to some of you:
- Listening to feedback from parents and from psychologists, we know that a structured day is useful for children. We also understand how we need to be flexible and adapt to the situation at hand. Below is a sample schedule you can use or adapt to your needs.
- The other blurb below is today's mindfulness advice from ESMS mom & psychologist, Dr. Michele Galietta.
As always, Amanda and I are eager to hear back from you.
8:30 - 9:15 am Wake Up, Shower, Breakfast
9:15 - 9:30 am School Check-In, Review Daily schedule
9:30 - 10:30 am Academic Time
10:30 - 11:00 am Free Time / Exercise
11:00 am - Noon Academic Time
Noon - 1:00 pm Lunch / Free Time
1:00 - 2:00 pm Academic Time
2:00 - 3:00 pm Outdoors Activity / Indoor Exercise
3:00 - 3:30 pm Writing/Journal
3:30 - 4:00 pm Academic / Other
4:00 - 5:00 pm Activity: Board game, baking, dinner prep, other
Evening Activities: Reading, SHSAT/Test Prep, Religious Studies
In the face of breaking headlines, it can be quite difficult to avoid negative thinking. Have you ever woken to find yourself dreading the coming day or expecting the worst? There is a saying that emotions love themselves. Negative thinking makes negative feelings and negative feelings bring on more unpleasant thoughts and feelings. Now, the goal is not to ignore the negative...let's be honest, there are a lot of unpleasant, scary things going on right now. However, the goal for Mindfulness practice today is not to ignore anything. Rather, it is to stay in the present moment so we do not invite negative thinking or get locked into negative thinking. It is not helpful and it can paralyze us or derail us.
When you say, "Today will be terrible" or "Oh no another bad day," or ,"What bad things are going to happen today?" you are not in the present moment. You are predicting the future. More than than that, you are actually tipping the scales towards having a bad day. When you say "Ugh, another day," you are telling your brain what to notice. You then selectively notice the unpleasant or painful. It is not that those things aren't in the mix. For people who miss visiting their loved ones, or those who can't see their therapists, for clinicians worried about their clients, and for administrators faced with new and unprecedented challenges there is sadness, fear or exhaustion for sure. But, when we prime our brain to only notice those things, then it is negative experiences and feelings that will make up almost all of our day.
So today's mindfulness practice is to practice staying in the present moment. If you can use the guided practice link below, please do so: youtube.com/watch?v=WHU2sjyD5MM
If you cannot, simply make it your practice to see things clearly in the present moment. See everything without filter. Notice everything without labeling or judging. If you do this, you may still be challenged or miss someone or resent the responsibility you face, but you will not be locking yourself into staying that way for the entire day. Take a breath and you will see the next moment more clearly. You will be more effective and you will likely have a better day.
My wish is for you to have your best day.