“The hope is to guide this younger generation in the journey, to help them grow in skills and abilities, develop a positive narrative, and ultimately come out stronger on the other side.”

Last week I introduced a new book to the Dalat community called “The Pandemic Population: Eight Strategies to Help Generation Z Rediscover Hope After Coronavirus”. The purpose of the book is to help parents and educators lead our children/students through this pandemic. It has some very insightful information and strategies for us.

I wanted to pull something out of the book for this week. In chapter six, the author talks about stress and trauma and that it is not the trauma that determines its impact but how we respond to it. In fact, how we respond can turn the traumatic event from a negative and destructive one into one of growth and purpose. Here are a few suggested steps of how to turn the trauma of the pandemic from one of stress and disorder to one of growth.

  • Acknowledge the Disappointment and the Loss: Pretending that everything is okay and telling them to just be happy can cause the impact to last longer. Give them time and allow them to grieve what they have lost because of the pandemic.
  • Find Alternatives for the Loss: Take some of the loss that they have experienced and look for alternatives. Think creatively in creating substitutes for some of those important passage of time or milestone events. (For example, this summer we are going to have our own graduation event for my oldest daughter who lost this milestone last May when most universities and colleges shut down.) 
  • Encourage Them to Turn Their Focus Outward: Helping other people helps us as well. Getting involved in serving others helps keep us from the inward and downward spiral that can happen. 
  • Tell Stories of Heroes Who Overcame Past Tragedies: Our students and children should be told stories of those who have faced adversity and difficult situations and overcame them. It helps them start to form a more positive narrative and it can encourage and inspire them.
  • Model the Habit of Finding the Silver Lining: This is not about denying the hardships and difficulties but modeling this can help them develop the ability to see the positives inside of the difficulties. 

Once again, let me encourage parents to take the time to buy and read this book as it is ultimately our responsibility to help this generation through the impact of this pandemic. The hope is to guide this younger generation in the journey, to help them grow in skills and abilities, develop a positive narrative, and ultimately come out stronger on the other side. 

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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