Who could have predicted Lockdowns? I for one, never expected to live this way. We do have to consider and manage the potential long-term impact it is currently having on our health and on our way of life. It has also made future planning that little bit harder. Nevertheless, it is too simplistic for Lockdown to be seen as a negative. We need to find some positives. It has given us time to reflect on our lives. We must aim to keep what is good and change what is not working so well. This is the time that we can all adjust our long-term aim in life. It acts as a reminder that no one’s future planning is fool proof and adaptability is the real key to success.
If I am totally honest, the one positive I could take out of the first Lockdown was that my eldest son would be home from university. It meant we could all spend time together as a family, for potentially the last time, as they are all growing up and embarking on different things in their lives. This soon evolved into a sense of dismay when I realised just how long our young people were expected to put their lives on hold.
The 5K walk
A daily 5k walk during lockdown was our daily family event. We scheduled our work, our meals, our TV – everything revolved around us all going for a walk. It started with just Peter and myself – and then, much to our surprise our 3 teenagers were so bored, they decided to come along too. Walking was a great way to conduct family chats. We reminisced, but we also focused a great deal on our future planning. Sporting choices, university choices, careers, holiday, traveling – what we were going to do when this was all over… Conversations we never would have had… a positive out of a negative.
The hardest hit was our eldest, he had to return home from university early– he missed the summer term. The plus side was that he also got his summer rent back, and he was furloughed from his job, so he did not have the financial worries to deal with. Plus, he had coursework submissions instead of exams, which he felt more confident about. Nevertheless, he missed a time in his life he will never be able to get back and the current autumn term has proved to be increasingly difficult.
I think the most positive way of coping with the situation we find ourselves in is to consider context. My eldest is in Manchester and he is not getting the university experience he was expecting. BUT, he is getting an experience, he is still moving forward in life. Being there, under restrictions, living with friends and being independent, is still better than being trapped at home and having no sense of purpose. My middle son was upset because he captained his u18 football team at Gateshead International stadium, but no one was allowed in the crowd. Context – at least he could still play.
My daughter is in Year 11. I do wonder how she can sit her GCSEs when she has missed so much school. She had to isolate for 14 days just before half term. I just left her to get on with her work. When I asked what she had done, she said she had used the time to really focus on her science, because this is where she was feeling the most behind. I could have been upset that she had not done other things – but why? This is a positive. She has taken ownership of her learning, identified where her weaknesses are, and made a determined effort to put it right. This is exactly what she should be doing but when she is restricted by the school day, she doesn’t get such options.
Undoubtedly, there will be an increase in mental health issues. We have a big job to do in society to ensure everyone, especially young people have a strong sense of purpose once this is all over. They will need to rebuild their confidence having made big decisions without the usual guidance. There will be gaps in fitness, participation in youth activities is at an all time low. Ultimately, we really need to work on getting young people reengaged in their social time, their education and get them to consider how this builds towards a better future.
We have still been working with young people since the opening of schools in September. Their positives of lockdown include:
- Creating a new fashion style
- Finding out who their real friends are
- Spending more time with their family
- Getting more sleep
- Regulating their eating patterns
More time to do what they want to do…
It is too easy to say that it is all negative – but there are some positives and we need to use such positives to re-establish relationships and encourage young people to use what they have learnt to reinforce a positive outlook.
There is still no end in sight, and we are still unsure when we can/will return to ‘normal’. What we can do is aim to focus on the positives. For us, this involves using this time to evaluate the business and the charity. We purposefully did not rush into online provision at the start of lockdown. Now we have a great set of plans for how we can best support young people, online. We are doing everything we can to turn this negative into a positive and we look forward to sharing our exciting new ideas in the very near future.
We urge everyone to take some time to reflect and consider what they really want out of their lives. Future planning is the key to success.
Blog / July 18th, 2018
Building self-belief in our young people is an essential element of their education. I recently received a thank you card from a Year 11 student who said “In such a short time period you have been amazing, thank you so much for helping me and being so kind.
Blog / March 25th, 2020
With the prospect of social isolation, the traditional methods of teaching are no longer applicable. A new way of long distance learning needs to be swiftly incorporated to ensure all students get the very best support at this crucial time. The most obvious solution is educational technology – EdTech.
Films / May 18th, 2019
This is an extended version of our film outlining the transformation of The Den activity centre in Tanfield Lea. Over a three month period we held weekly sessions and made plans, for transforming this amazing space.