A Parent’s Reflection

Jacob GoodwilerUncategorized

Author: Audi Swift | Cambridge Parent

I greatly underestimated the fatigue that has settled over me in the past month. A fatigue acutely noticeable every time I sat down to write this reflection. Again and again, I was able to access very little interiorly about these past few months. The 2019-2020 school year is one I could have never foreseen ending with a pandemic and online learning. I remember the flood of anxiety I felt on March 13th, when TCS (and all CA schools) announced they were closing. Online learning at home seemed like a Mount Everest kind of task. I wasn’t sure how we were going to suddenly “homeschool” our four kids – from preschool to 5th grade – and have Jeremy working from home as well. But by God’s grace, support through families in the TCS community, and the amazing pivot by the entire faculty and staff at TCS, we not only made it through, but I believe I can say: we finished well. Albeit exhausted.

Jeremy and I were in awe by how quickly and nimbly TCS shifted to online learning. In a blink, our kids were in zoom school practicing a new rhythm of learning, with a Google classroom and regular lesson plans. All of this points to the endless hours and incredible dedication put in by the entire TCS staff to show up, with excellence, and continue to offer a rich learning experience. In a time when emotions were high, disappointment and uncertainty at large, and an increased workload, our teachers maintained a constant presence of grace and strength for our kids (and even for us as parents too). Although the onramp to online learning was steep, we were grateful for intentional checkins by our teachers and the TCS staff as to how we were honestly doing.

Jean’s weekly messages to the parents were a source of inner strength, reminding us that we were not navigating alone and to embrace the built-in learning we could accommodate right under our roofs. In fact, I was enormously grateful for Jean’s encouragement to embrace the “slow time” we had. This permission to sink into the situation at-hand and use it as best we could was a vital voice to hear during this time. Our family baked cakes and goodies, tried out new dinner recipes together, and enjoyed many crafting sessions. We listened to more audible books and took our reading outside. We even took up a book series themed around Greek mythology, where our 3rd grader, Bentley, revealed to us his depth of knowledge about Greek gods. We put our hands in the dirt as the kids planted a small vegetable garden. We went on long bike rides as a family, laughed our way through an all-out family Nerf battle in our backyard, and shared many nights around the fire. Harper, our 5th grader, even took her shot in writing a screenplay about her Founding Father, Hamilton, and rallied her siblings to help perform it. I am grateful for how this “slow time” offered us an ability to have many conversations which often get missed in the middle of a busy schedule. And although we are heartbroken for the many losses suffered during this time for so many, we are grateful for a school who, not only encourages these things, but has been steady, resilient and a source of light through the darkness.

Amidst the challenges of quarantine, the time also brought a sweet kinship between several TCS moms who all gleaned from each other as the online days took shape. In addition, joy and curiosity found us through the creative TCS community offerings, like the TCS zoom talent shows and the extra enrichments offered by various staff members. One of my favorite things during our online learning time was most unexpected to me. I loved being a bit of a “fly on the wall” and hearing the student/teacher interactions. Although I knew these interactions and relationships were special during the normal year, I have come to appreciate the sweetness in a whole new way. A few moments I noted:

  • Overhearing one child’s teacher explaining to them what gratitude is and is not.
  • Seeing the joy on a teacher’s face towards my child when checking in with how they were doing.
  • Experiencing how attuned our teachers are to their students.
  • And tearing up as I witnessed each prayerful charge read over a child, pointing to how our teachers truly see our students like Jesus sees them.

Every interaction I witnessed was laced with a deep love, graciousness, and wisdom.

With the close of this unforgettable school year, I find myself on-my-knees grateful for our TCS community. Grateful for a community and a leadership who leans into the challenges and stands steady in a storm because of a deep-rooted reliance on Christ’s love and presence. Grateful to be able to rest assured in God’s faithfulness to walk us through any valley. Grateful that we as a community can celebrate a job well accomplished. As we head into the summer, we may all very well be exhausted. But I was reminded of Galatians 6:9 which says, “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued in doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” Summer has arrived, but challenges are still evident for our families and our communities. And so I know we are not alone, in praying for our country and community, in leaning into the hard conversations, and in asking ourselves how we can love God and our neighbor even more wholeheartedly in the coming months.