Message from May 20, 2020

Dear Families,

As the pandemic wears on and patience wears down, self-care is more important than ever. Part of self-care is using our emotional intelligence which means:

  • being aware of our feelings
  • having them validated either by ourselves or another
  • holding our feelings without judging them
  • looking to that feeling to guide us in our decision making: What is this feeling telling me that I need to do in this moment?  What am I able to do at this time?

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" -- Fred RogersI never watched a complete show of Mr. Rogers, but having seen the recent movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks, I realized how much I missed out. At a time when “social-emotional learning” was not a buzz word, Fred Rogers was giving his fans a foundation in emotional intelligence.

The very word “feelings” can conjure up negative sentiments based upon childhood experiences or societal expectations. The longer I live the more I believe that feelings are not an escape from reality but rather a journey to the heart of reality. That is why they can be so scary at times and why we would rather avoid feeling the feelings. We wouldn’t think of going to a movie theater wearing a blindfold. We wouldn’t think of attending a concert with earplugs. Just as our senses teach us about the world around us, our feelings teach us about our inner and outer worlds and how to integrate them.

I’m convinced that if we as adults do not allow our children and ourselves to process the feelings of this pandemic, we will come out of this with a lot of baggage to carry around. A simple sharing and discussion around the dinner table of “This is my high and low of the day” can go a long way to begin the healing process.

My apologies to the spirit of Mr. Rogers for my earlier years of assuming that his show was infantile. On the contrary, he knew that life was not for the faint of heart. I think that was what fueled his passion to give children an education in emotional intelligence.

With feeling,

Ms. Reeser

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