Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. There is no history on which to fall back upon, nor any traditions to follow. While this does not make it easy to decide on a course of action, decisive action is necessary in order to reach the goal. Defining the goal can help us make judicious and prescient choices.
Therefore, it behooves us to define our goals during this time of incertitude and plot a course to help us reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
Over the past few months, and more so the last week or two, Menahalim have heard from parents about their challenges and successes. With their world upended, children have a hard time adjusting to what has become a new reality. Classes, social interactions, uncertainty and emotions have entered a new universe, with parents and educators struggling to create a sense of security in an insecure world.
An all-too-common grievance heard from parents is how all the hard work they have invested over the years seems to be escaping. No longer do their sons wake up on time, and their davening has slackened off. Their attention span, which presumably was superb before the pandemic hit, has now been shortened considerably. Their derech eretz, once the pride and joy of their parents, is slipping into oblivion. Can we just stand by and watch our children regress significantly?
Now, for the goal.
Imagine for a moment that you are a pilot and as your aircraft approaches the runway, you suddenly realize that the fuel gauge, which showed a sufficient supply just minutes ago, suddenly indicates you are on empty. Do you go through the usual checklist? Do you worry about stowing away objects under the seat, raising the tray tables, and draining the liquids? Or do you simply land the craft safely and pick up the pieces later?
The goal, as defined by many, is to survive this crisis with our homes and families intact. Certainly, we try to maintain the best sense of order possible. We would love our children to go to sleep on time, wake up on time, and spend the day learning, davening, and interacting with their family members with loving kindness. But the reality tells us that this is often unrealistic, and we must choose our priorities in order to reach our goal intact.
So now is not the time to lay down the law and rebuke our children for every perceived infraction. There may be fallout, but you are not alone, and our nation is resilient and will pick up the pieces together. Utilize the time to develop resilience, bonding between siblings and parents, and learning that a family that can make it through this crisis will indeed be smiled upon by history as we create a marvelous tradition.
May Hashem help us land safely and soundly, together.