Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Episode 4: Leadership Parenting during a pandemic


Guest Introduction by Mary Kay
Mark Winkler, Non-profit Director
Topic: Leadership Parenting during a pandemic


Background: I am a parent, parenting during a pandemic. I felt compelled to share what I am learning. People most interested in this topic are 26-55 years of age; 55+. Parent and step-parenting for 12 years. I am a parent, I have a bachelor degree in psychology and I have an organization that serves youth and fathers. I also wrote a book about my parenting experience entitled 
My Daughters€™s Keeper: 

Part I: Parenting Challenge!
One of the biggest challenges is how do I continuously provide hope and inspiration to my child and step-children during this unfolding crisis? Infection numbers and death tolls are increasing daily, and government-sanctioned precautions and measures are growing more restrictive. In this climate, it is easy for fear to outpace hope. As a parent, I have the enormous challenge of managing my growing concerns and the concerns of my children while simultaneously helping them to process this anxiety-filled moment through a healthy perspective.

Part II: STEPS

Acceptance
In order for me to accomplish this, I had to personally acknowledge the reality of what we are facing as a global community. We are in a pandemic. Covid-19 has touched over 140 countries. As the virus quickly spreads, nation after nation, city after city institute more restrictive measures. These measures, including the mandatory stay at home orders, are designed to give medical professionals enough time to develop a vaccine or at least an effective treatment regiment without the added burden of unmanageable patient influxes.

Feeling ownership
Next, I had to pause and honestly assess my feelings about this unfolding crisis. As news outlets continue reporting the world wide infection rates and death rates, especially in Europe, Asia,
the Middle East, and now the U.S, and our government officials’ debate over various financial relief packages, I wrestle with increased feelings of nervousness and fear. My thoughts begin racing, will the grocery stores be forced to shutter their doors? What if my children, wife, or other family and friends get sick? Would there be enough medical supplies to properly treat them? I had to accept, many of those matters were not in my immediate control.

Part III: Focused Empowering Attention
Therefore, I've decided to concentrate on matters where I can exercise useful guidance and inspiration. I sat down with my wife and children and we had a family discussion. We shared up to date information about COVID-19 and encouraged our children to share their feelings and thoughts. Our children seemed appreciative of this bonding moment. I know I was. Our plan is to do this once weekly. NextI arranged a group call with at least eighteen members of my extended family scattered across America. The purpose of the call was to receive vital information about the developing COVID-19 crisis from one of our family members who is a medical doctor working on the front line. Hearing their voices made me realize we are all in this together. Both the family meeting with my wife and children and the group family call mentally and spiritually nourished and empowered me. Both these moments helped me understand as a parent, I am not helpless at this moment. Neither are you.


There are many things we can do to ensure we feel empowered and our children feel as secure as possible. For me, it was talking and fostering meaningful connections. Of course, there are other things I do such as pray, read, exercise, and write. Whatever your self-empowering strategy is, embrace it and use it to help you continue to be the most loving and supportive parent you can be during this time of tremendous transition.


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Dr. Mary Kay Keller

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