There is something significant happening with our kids. There’s all the rough stuff. And yeah there’s a lot. They are struggling and to be honest, not many of us are meeting them where they are. Parents actually know very little about kids. Hard to believe but it’s true. Parents mostly need help and resources, and with parenting being a competitive sport these days, most parents feel like if they don’t know something or make the wrong choice for their kids, it’s a shortcoming. No, it’s not. The braver, cooler, smarter, thing to do would be to admit that having a kid doesn’t make us experts. I have a car, but I couldn’t tell you the first thing about it. I don’t pretend to know how to fix it myself. There is one thing though that will come out of this pandemic that no matter how much we fail as parents, is pretty fool proof. And that is a growth in the capacity to be alone. The capacity to be alone is an incredible phenomenon and one that many of our kids were on the verge of experiencing in an arrested manifestation. For most of us, the capacity to be alone, or be with ourselves, our thoughts, have emptiness, nothingness, boredom, is hard. Most people hate it, and technology has done an incredible job enabling us to fill ourselves whenever we are feeling the slightest bit empty. I don’t like that feeling, so I’ll go get a dopamine rush from social media for a bit. I’m empty and don’t want to depend upon myself to be with my emptiness or change the tide. It’s hard and requires a capacity for discomfort. Kids, prior to the pandemic had little capacity to be alone. Lots of entertainment, all a their fingertips. Friends nearby and on video, even when away. Some of this has been a welcome respite during social distancing. I’m happy to see my kiddo being able to talk with her friends and have a social life all from the safety of our home. But all these devices ready to fill in our discomfort have really prevented our kids from learning how to be with themselves. This is a hard task. It’s a skill. And one that is easier if we start when we are young. We all have the capacity to be ugly, awful, hideous beasts and our thoughts when alone can easily go to these places. We can also easily go the creative, new, and wonderful places. You don’t get to pick which pathway. You get them both with entering into the experience. Like most things, you have to learn to navigate the bad with the good. I am hopeful that this time our kids have been forced to spend with themselves stands alone. I think it is significant enough that our interference as parents can’t have screwed it up. I am so curious to see the other end of this phenomenon. Will this relatively short amount of time feed our kids in this way? A way they really need to be independent and confident adults. I am hopeful in this respect.

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