Darth Vader Goes to Walmart: Pandemic Musings

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“Children, ages 2 and older, will be required to wear a mask at school.”

“Parents, whether your student wears a mask or not is up to you.”

“We are not going to require masks.”

“We will only require our teachers to wear masks.”

I was talking to a high school student the other day, she told me:

It is one thing to wear a mask, into a store, for a short amount of time; It is another thing to wear a mask at school all day.

I get it. I never knew that I had issues with claustrophobia. Not being a doctor or someone required to wear a mask for work, I never really thought too much about how wearing a mask would make me feel. That is, until I was required to wear a mask to shop in a store.

I try to play off the mask wearing by making Darth Vader breathing sounds as I wear one. While at the same time, I also try not to think about how we all look like a bunch of poor doctors and bank robbers.

Speaking of bank robbers, I saw a Brink’s armored truck parked the other day. The two armed security guards were wearing bandannas. They looked like armed robbers, as they casually walked back to their truck with cash. This pandemic plays mind games with ya when the good guys look like the bad guys.

For parents having to make the choice as to school their children online or in person at school, you have my sympathy. I can’t imagine having to work around enforcing that my child stays in front of the computer/in their seat, at home, for as long as they would if they were at school; I also can’t imagine sending my child to school and forcing them to wear a mask all day and social distance. Your children’s teachers are not paid enough. But you know that.

I was recently telling Tabitha that our lives, as parents who have chosen to homeschool, do not revolve around a school. No, our son’s education/schooling revolves around us and neatly fits into our day.

  • We decide when school begins and ends.
  • We decide which curriculum to teach from.
  • We decide whether there will be masks or not.

I am thankful that we made the choice to homeschool. I am thankful for my gifted wife who has made the decision to stay at home and teach our son. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone though. Not every kid is built for homeschooling. But for our family, homeschooling works for us.

No masks will be required, in our home, this Fall. We will strive to preserve as much normalcy as we can in our school routine. Wearing a mask, around the house, seems silly. I shouldn’t say that aloud though as home mask wearing could soon be a thing. Stupid 2020.

However, I WILL BE WEARING A MASK if going to the local Walmarts… I mean, if Darth Vader goes to the Walmarts.

>Insert Mechanical Breathing Sound of Doom<

Pushing Through the Fog of School

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Sending your child to school isn’t easy. You’re sending them off into the unknown. Sure, you know that there is safety and structure, but you have no clue what their teacher might be like. No clue what is going on in the classroom or the playground. Unless you ask.

To cut through the fog of school, you need to frame questions in a specific way. Questions that move beyond simple one word answers.

Instead of asking: How was school today?

Ask: Who did you play with today on the playground?

And as a follow up: What did you play?

Parenting is all about playing the role of the detective. Ask questions and then listen. Be present. Avoid distracting thoughts. Your child knows when they have your full attention.

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Questions to further push through:

  • What made you laugh today?
  • Who did you sit by at lunch?
  • What was the most fun part of your day?
  • Did anything surprise you today?
  • What did you learn in music (P.E., computer lab, etc.) today?

As you listen to your child, you’ll discover what frustrates and excites them. Don’t be afraid to turn one of their answers into a teachable moment. It is your job, as a parent, to help your child make sense of the world. To cut through the fog.

What questions do you ask your kids?