Recently, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions that I don’t have the answers to. With so much uncertainty right now, I find myself thinking through questions that are impossible to answer. There is one question in particular that I’ve been focusing on:
How is this pandemic going to affect the social skills of all people, especially children?
I recently attended a virtual workshop with Candace Doby, a speaker and author who specializes in helping youth and young adults build courage. Candace defines courage as “a choice to face a threat for a worthy purpose.” What she means by this is that, by being courageous, one is choosing to overcome a fear because the result will be worthy, or in line with personal values.
Several years ago, a fellow camp director introduced me to Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, author of many great parenting books (including “The Whole Brained Child” with Dan Siegel). Tina is witty, caring and an enthusiastic camp mom.
I reached out to her to see what her thoughts were on our odd current circumstances.
Please let me share two good ones.
I have been intrigued with the work of Dr. Laurie Santos. She teaches a course on Happiness (or Well-Being or Fulfillment – pick your term) at Yale. When she first offered it, it instantly became the most popular class there.
She is engaging, wise and unassuming. If you get a chance, it is worth checking out her work.
When the COVID-19 “lockdown” first began, I made it a goal to write down my gratitudes each night at bedtime. Between the disruption to my normal routine and the new challenges of daily life, I wanted to continue seeing the positives of each day. I did an admirable job sticking with this goal for the first two weeks. Each evening, I wrote down 5-10 things I was grateful for that day. Things were going well!
The last 6 weeks or so have made me thoughtful about what I do and do not know. I am certain of this: I knew much more on February 28 than I do now. Here is an inventory of my end-of-February knowledge:
I knew that sports were frustrating.
- My favorite basketball player (fellow Davidson College alum Steph Curry) had been hurt all season.
- My beloved Houston Astros (the team my grandfather raised me to love despite countless seasons of ineptitude starting in the 1970s) was immersed in a terrible cheating scandal.
Despite these complaints about sports, I knew I would enjoy March Madness and the Masters.
Yesterday, I was asked to do a 30 minute video podcast with Dr Gage Paine. Dr Paine has a PhD in Philosophy In Educational Administration and was the former VP of Student Affairs at the University of Texas.
In 2012, we were both speakers at TEDx San Antonio. Gage spoke on the Sound of Silence and I talked about Unplugging from Social Media at Camp to help teach communication and collaboration. The host asked us to talk about how we can best communicate with each other in the age of social distancing. Our conversation is here.
Hope you enjoy the video. Please let me share a few highlights:
We recently received an encouraging email from a camp family that we think is worth sharing with our community. This is from the family of a longtime camper who is using the "gift of Camp Champions" during these trying times.
I try to share original thoughts, but sometimes the classics are better.
In 1993, Coach Jimmy Valvano gave a speech at the ESPY awards. In it, he describes a life well-lived. There is a sadness to the speech. He gives it knowing that his cancer will soon take him.