I have actively chosen to move through this year as a challenge instead of a problem and it has been monumental for my mental wellbeing. Challenges are on trend these days, right? My kids are always asking to do random YouTube inspired feats. 24-hour box fort challenge. 24-hour trampoline challenge. 24-hour bedroom challenge. Slime bubble challenge. I could go on forever with the nonsense that tends to somehow want to occupy an entire day.
We grown-ups have trendy challenges also to join with others or go it alone. 30 Day No Sugar, 14 Days of Gratitude, 30 Days of Planks, 21-day Blah-blibbity Blah. I get it. Challenges are cool and get us in motion.
We can probably agree that 2020 has dished out layers of problematic challenges. Remember the Spring Break that hasn’t stopped? Did anyone expect that to turn into Shelter in Place With Your Family Challenge? Are we still doing that? How about, Clean the Groceries Challenge or the Try Not to Judge People Who Don’t Wear a Mask Challenge?
The last one was a joke. Dang, it’s tense out there!
2020 has been the most disruptive year we’ve all gotten to share collectively. It’s been challenging and NOT in the “Hey y’all! Who wants to do a 30 Day Declutter Challenge with me?” I actually did get to experience some of that urge, along with, painting all the things, planting a garden, and of course, we got a puppy. Nothing happily distracts from the uncertainty of 2020 like a fluffy Goldendoodle.
I have never, ever previously had the urge or inspiration to homeschool my children. Fifteen minutes of homework can (I’m looking at you Common Core Math) somehow turn into 45 minutes of torture. Also, I’m not the most structure loving person. My parenting style is a little free range-ish. Stuff gets done, the kids all say “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir” but there are dirty feet and a loose bedtime routine.
Spring Break 2020 transitioned right into Distance Learning and even though it’s not technically “homeschooling” everyone got a glimpse of what that might kinda, sorta be like. Whoa! That was nuts for everybody on some level or twenty. I’m over here, wiping down groceries, trying to get my husband to turn the dang news off, setting all sorts of alarms to make sure the kiddos are set up to be on their scheduled class conferences, that is IF the website isn’t down. Everything felt chaotic and foreign and a little sad but I rolled with it. I laughed it off constantly with, “I am SO not a homeschool mom”
God, The Universe, Source, whatever you want to call upon has a funny (not funny) sense of humor and I am grateful for the parenting grace I don’t withhold from myself.
I feel like this year is full of opportunities to learn and grow. I don’t think I’ll be escaping it without showing up differently for myself and my family. Low and behold, I have chosen option number 4 for schooling my children this year. Never say never because that magical phrase increases the odds of you most likely landing in the ironic position of doing the exact thing you said you would not ever do. Like a stubborn little kid energetically projecting that they are going to show you a thing or two. Good times!
Is this a problem or a challenge and what even is the difference?
Here are the definitions to help contemplate.
Problem (n.) – a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome. (YUCK)
Challenge (n.) – a call to take part in a contest or competition OR a task or situation that tests someone’s abilities (HARD BUT NOT YUCK)
Problems feel, heavy, inflicted, often outside of my control, even a little victim-y like something has happened to me. Challenges feel, well, definitely more within my control and ability to DO something or at the very least figure out a solution.
I’ve chosen to do something I said I would never do and I’m embracing it as a challenge instead of viewing it as a problem. I hope my children feel the difference as we figure this out on the way. It’s a One Year Homeschool Challenge with kids in kindergarten, 6th, and 7th grade. I get to make the supply lists and create our schedules. We aren’t buying backpacks and my grocery bill will not be going down anytime soon. I’ve also promised the kids we’ll go to Chic-fil-a for lunch once a week. That’s nothing new but it made them happy, as only waffle fries can do.
Whatever challenge you’ve chosen to embark on while we continue to move through this pandemic, I hope you’re able to frame it with empowerment and know that you can do hard things even if it’s something you said you’d never do.