On Friday, I walked into the kitchen to see my 8-year-old looking at statistics on the Worldometer Coronavirus page. He was writing a paragraph for his teacher on how self-isolation was feeling. This was his paragraph: “Self-isolation is pretty hard because when Owen and I would get angry at each other, we would just go to the neighbor’s house to play, but with COVID-19 we can’t go there anymore. Basically Coronavirus is like a really bad dream that you can’t wake up from. The US has 478,272 cases of COVID. This is BAD!!!”
And then a fascinating thing happened to me: I felt a surge of gratitude. It’s true that the numbers are scary and this is a crisis. And also my son had written a lovely simile about the experience, had done a little bit of research into the numbers, and had finished an assignment he’d been dragging his feet about all morning. I thought, “at least right now, he is managing this situation,” and I was proud and grateful.
Christina Baudis’ Wellness Challenge #2 is about recognizing and chronicling our gratitude–I recommend that you take this challenge with your daughters, and indeed with everyone in your family. Very few things help us manage depression, grief, and anxiety as much as noticing and expressing gratitude. One thing we know for sure about this time, and the weeks and months to come, is that everyone around us will be feeling many different things, and that we know people who will have widely differing experiences of, and responses to, this pandemic. It’s important to acknowledge that all emotions are valid–each of us will have moments of joy, and each of us will have dark moments too. One thing that can help us through it all is gratitude.
I am grateful for the Winsor community, for the outpouring of kindness and compassion I have seen these past several weeks. I am grateful for you and your partnership through this surreal time. I am grateful for your daughters, whose perseverance in the midst of upheaval has been inspiring. I am grateful for the faculty and staff, who routinely ask, “How are you?” and “What can I do to help?”
And the small things, too. My favorite colors are lime green and orange, ideally together. (I know.) Last year, at a paint-your-own-pottery place, my husband made a lime green and orange mug with the word “Gratitude” on it. And this morning, I noticed that a long-dormant begonia in our house had just produced a lovely orange-y flower. The lime-green-and-orange brightness was such a delight. The world is full of surprises and moments of pure joy. I am grateful for those moments–for the privilege of being able to have them. And for the chance to share them with you.
Head of School
Image: Olivia Zhao '24, A Spring Afternoon (partial)