Many people go through periods of suffering, pain and grief where life feels very broken.
Death, illness, divorce, redundancy or job loss, adjusting to empty nesting, relationship breakdown and other losses, challenges, disappointments and difficult times that life involves.
The thing is, most of these losses in life are adult matters and the young are buffered from them as much as possible.
Our children, teens and young adults are now today, living in a world which has become suddenly and unexpectedly, en masse broken.
Now, with 190 countries adopting some form of ‘shelter in place’ or ‘lockdown’ there is little hiding the reality from the young. Sure, we can and should dumb down the language and simplify the news for them. But we cannot hide it. Their schools are closed. No more activities and sports. Nowhere to go, no one to see.
They can only ‘see’ and chat with their friends on the phones and devices that we wanted them to put down a few months ago. We’ve joked about phones being the extensions of teenagers fingertips and now they have become the only link with life, outside their family.
It’s not really natural for any of us to be home bound for so long, less so for teenagers.
This is the time of their lives that they should be out and about, separating from their parents, finding their own identity, thoughts, opinions, having experiences – maybe some leading to temporary grounding! But nothing like what we are in.
It’s not in any way easy for them to go through this. It’s not a definitive change.
There is so much unknown and ‘wait and see’ answers to their questions. When it is an event of loss, you can go through the emotions, learn to accept and start to recover. In this case, it’s still unfolding and will continue to do so for months and possible years. Fear is rife and impacting more than the actual virus. Those tallies will follow. I wonder how this will impact this generations resilience, ability to dream, make goals and plans for their lives.
It is however a time to teach them valuable life lessons: living in the moment, being patient with life, dealing with ambiguity, appreciation and gratitude, knowing their nature, values and personality at a deeper level.
It’s also a great time to teach them how to ground themselves, clear their heads, what self-care really means (far from fake nails/tan), the true value of a walk in fresh air, how a good cry or simply how a cuppa and talking things out can really help right their corner of the world by a couple of degrees.
And hopefully those life lessons will stand to them in dealing with future challenges in their lives.