It was nine o’clock at night, my kids where fighting with each other in the car, we were all hungry and exhausted, and my boy’s argument had no end in sight.
It was HEAVEN!
You see we were driving home from football practice, and just last year this behavior would have made me cringe but 2020 is different.
I watched my boys on that field, and I watched their teammates, and I saw something I have not seen in a long time……JOY. There were smiles, laughing, and you could see a sense of relief as they came together as a team, old teammates reconnecting and new teammates being introduced.
They went to work preparing for a football season they all needed.
It did not take long for the joy I felt seeing these kids’ happiness to be squashed and replaced with uncertainty and frustration. The discussion quickly turned pessimistic about the fate of this season. Coaches talking about the CIAC, and their upcoming meeting with the Department of Public Health.
The overwhelming sentiment was that this season would be over once that meeting took place. The all too familiar feeling of frustration rose in me again. You see, I know that more than anything, my boys need this season, and they need to return to school.
I know this because I, along with my wife, am an expert on my children. We are the only experts on these two boys. Just as those of you hopefully reading this are an expert on yours.
The damage done to children, at risk populations, and the elderly is too high a cost. Kids sports being shut down, music classes, after school youth programs. Seniors clubs not meeting. It's ripping the guts from these generations.
— Sundance Construction (@SundanceConstr1) August 18, 2020
I understand the passion all parents have in the seemingly endless debates over COVID. This passion comes from our love for our children. It comes from the fact that we as parents know exactly what our kids need.
Since our kids were born, we have been forced to weigh the risks versus rewards of every activity our children have ever done. We have done it all with out a manual. We have made mistakes and we have learned from them, but we ALWAYS have the safety of our children at the forefront of our minds.
Our choices are different because we are all different, our children are all different. They have different needs, different strengths, different obstacles. It is what makes this world so great, diversity. These decisions are not just based on athletics, you can replace football, with band, chess club, debate club, or whatever the “thing” is that your child has a passion for.
The new mandates imposed by @GovPritzker & the @IDPH don't make sense, ensure schools can't open, & defy the demands by the CDC & pediatricians across the country who say kids need to return to school. This is outrageous. #REOPENSCHOOLS #twill https://t.co/qkKWhFVQlE
— Milton Township Republican Central Committee (@TheMTRCC) August 14, 2020
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We had to “say see you later” to several of our teammates this year. Their parents weighed the risk vs. reward, and the risks of participating on the team this year were greater than the reward. It was an educated decision based on their unique situations.
We all respect their decision and we will miss them. We will welcome them back at a time when the reward becomes greater than the risk.
Until this COVID world began, we as parents had the job of deciding what risks we were willing to accept for our children. We as the experts of our children made those decisions, and continually reassessed our comfort level in every activity our children undertook.
I now feel the frustration of these decisions being made for me. I believe we as parents should be given the facts and information, and it is our job to do what we have been doing since our children have been born.
Then they need to return unsafely.
Sorry to be blunt or sound callous. But the damage that multiple years of irregular education will do to kids, ESPECIALLY vulnerable population kids, is incalculable. https://t.co/34o2BtNOdy
— R James King (@RJamesKing1) August 19, 2020
As a society we are overwhelmed with data and predictions and figures regarding this virus. We as individuals all interpret this in our own way, based on our life experiences and current situation. The virus is real, and it is scary.
My family has lived up close and personal with it. My wife is a nurse who was tasked with caring for COVID positive patience. The first few weeks were scary and hard. She feared bringing it home to us. She struggled with the risk of doing her job, and helping those in need, versus the health of her family. She took every precaution, and we learned to live with it.
Not all people made the same choice, and that is okay. To some who have medical conditions that make the risks of the virus far greater than the reward, they found another path.
To those parents who believe the rewards of their child’s passion outweigh the current risks of the virus, we should demand the right to make that decision. To those parents who feel the opposite, I stand with you as well.
We have been through many difficult situations with our kids, we have navigated all these things without someone stepping in and doing it for us. We are the experts of our children, and we need to take control of their lives again.
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