This summer holiday is an exception, it is once in a century that schools are closed and there are no travel plans! No frantic last-minute packing, no reminders set for online check-in, no travel maps downloaded and no one waiting for you on the other side of the globe. The ‘Summer of 2020’ is ushering a massive change for the international schools’ community. Every summer we disappeared into destinations across the earth to rejuvenate and reunite with loved ones. With travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, the best way to spend summer 2020 is not to travel! So what do we do? Let us for a moment think of this as an actual opportunity to do three very simple things that will prepare us for the next academic year and give us a refreshing experience without having to travel.
Learn to fail
As a teacher how many times have you said to a student-It is ok to fail? Honesty, I do say it but with hesitation, thinking, if the students learn to be comfortable with failure it will be a disaster. But on second thoughts, if someone is afraid of failing they will never try out new things. And this summer is about trying out new things like learning to program an app, ride a bike, cook pizza, edit videos, play a new instrument, sing in front of an audience…the list is inexhaustible, the idea is simple to learn from failures. This year have been an epic failure for many industries, organisations, business etc. across the world. While they are trying to recover from the pandemic, the aftershocks are already being felt in most sectors. In the education sector, many schools have closed, teachers have lost their jobs and students have lost their alma mater. Everyone talks about how failure is hitting us hard, and yet life goes on, we fall, we rise and we learn. Hence there is no better time to get used to failing. This summer is an opportunity to learn to rise from failures. Also to try something new and keep trying repeatedly-It is ok to fail!
Learn to empathise
Another important exercise is to take care of emotional and mental wellbeing. When it is hard to socialise, go to the movies, see new places, meet new people or meet people you know, it is very stressful to deal with being at home. To take care of one’s own mental wellbeing is a symbiotic process, one has to be caring and empathetic towards others in order to e treated the same way. Recent conversations on racism, xenophobia, discrimination have lodged a sharp wedge into the human psyche and made us doubt everything, from the use of masks to origins of the pandemic to people walking on the streets. These are signs of a deranged human society that does not trust its own inner voice which tells them to be empathetic. Hence empathy has to be taught! While schools are focusing on teaching empathy, it will also fall upon caretakers, guardians and parents to teach the same to children/students during the summer holiday. Teach them to care; care for the little plant in the pot; care about their personal hygiene; care about the neighbours; care about their friends and family, call them once a week; care about keeping the locality clean; care about pollution; care about anyone and everyone. Learn to trust, learn to relate to other peoples’ problems and care about it, learn to empathise.
Learn to know yourself
This is a great time to discover a whole new person, that is you. Learn more about yourself, start by keeping a journal, it can be digital or a physical. A journal helps you to understand what you enjoy the most, it is an indirect way of reaching self-actualisation by reflecting on your interests and skills. Ask questions, interview yourself, take pictures of things you enjoy, organise your thoughts to get clarity on what describes you and defines you. This is a meditative process of self-healing by connecting with your inner self. Once you have enough evidence on yourself, read your journal, you might be surprised what you have discovered. A simple self-reflection exercise can be a groundbreaking realisation for discovering yourself. Clear your head disk, declutter your thoughts, get clarity on your aims and objectives, this is a great time to do it. Even though it is summertime, it is a great time for spring cleaning both spiritual and digital. Clean that drive, desktop, device to get rid of unnecessary digital dross and dregs. Next step is to organise your headspace and disk space. Once you have done all of this a clear picture of you will emerge, free of worries, stress and anger, ready to face the next academic year.
So put on your seatbelts and experience the journey of failure, empathy and self-discovery as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity-‘Covid19-Summer of 2020’