This past year and a half has left its mark on everyone. Now that we have reached the final weeks of summer, and my kids will be headed back to high school full time for the first time since March of 2020, I find myself thinking about how much this pandemic has changed them.
In many ways, this has been one of my favorite times with my kids. Having them home for every meal, cooking together, sharing experiences and making memories; it’s changed all of us. And while I want most things to go back to normal, there are certain things about my teens that I hope don’t change once we sink back into our old life.
An Improved Back to Normal
1. They’re more responsible.
Last year, my kids got pet ducks and I can’t believe how knowledgeable they have become about raising them. I honestly thought it would be a matter of time before I had to take over the duck duties, but I was wrong. I was shocked at how well they took care of them.
They get up early in the morning to give them fresh food and water and collect their eggs. I’ve never had to ask them to clean out their house. They know exactly what the ducks can (and can’t) eat and they built a fence around their house to keep them protected from predators.
These birds have given my teens a sense of responsibility, which has led to more confidence and other interests like gardening. My son planted a garden of peas to feed the ducks and he’s helped me with our peach and plum trees because he wants to feed some of the fruit to his pets.
2. They’re more self-aware.
The pandemic has taught all of us how quickly things can change and how our familiar routines can be disrupted. Once the realization set in that the pandemic was more serious than simply having a few weeks off from school, my teens began to realize they weren’t the only ones affected by the changes.
Over the months, I’ve watched as they’ve expressed a greater appreciation for their friends and family, and for simple experiences, like being able to share a meal in a restaurant again. They are more conscious of, and thankful for, their health. And I honestly feel, even though they’d probably never admit it, that they are more thankful for me.
3. They’ve found positive ways to adapt to change.
Once the busy was taken out of their lives, and they couldn’t go to school or see friends, they experienced a sense of panic (like many of us did). It’s hard to go from being busy all the time to being at home without much to do.
But my teens got past the panic and adapted to being less busy. They learned they are capable of entertaining themselves and they discovered new hobbies and interests. They adjusted to a new way of life, of going without things they used to think they needed and making the most of what’s right in front of them.
All of us, including our teens, have had to be resilient over the past year and a half. We’ve all learned and changed so much through this experience. Learning these pandemic lessons hasn’t been an easy time, but I’m grateful for some of the things my teens have gained—and, as we go back to a normal life and schedule, I really hope the life lessons and good memories stay with us.