A good friend of mine works for an energy company. He is in maintenance at a hydroelectric facility in our area. While many people were filling their vehicles with toilet paper and foodstuffs, I texted him, “I just wanted to thank you for the continuous electricity you help provide. I use it every day and appreciate it very much!”
He replied: “I’d like to report that water continues to flow downhill, we are generating at a furious pace. Take care. Greetings to the whole family.”
You might have guessed that the WATG Government Action Committee visit to Washington DC to advocate for gifted education funding (specifically the Javits grants) did not happen this year. So instead of an update on a trip that didn’t happen, I’d like to look at things that we can focus on with those closest to us in the midst of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Like most of you, I’m finding my calendar suddenly very empty. Committee meetings, projects, errands, practices, after school activities and appointments that were once vital for myself or the kids have either vanished or evolved into a video chat. It’s an odd feeling of being connected, yet disconnected at the same time. Our piano lessons can now be given through Zoom. A therapy session can come via Facetime. WebX seems to work for those meetings that still need to occur…
For many of us this will be remembered as a stressful time. But is that true for kids? Does it need to be stressful for them? For those of you active in social media, you’re probably seeing a lot of friends doing crafts: sewing, art, woodworking, and painting are just a few of the interests that seem to have appeared from some previously concealed box that was tucked away in a closet. People are engaging with their kids. In 20 years we might look back at today and recall uncertainty, gloom. But children might remember family dinners, boiling maple sap into syrup, repairing a bicycle, or learning to sew an article of clothing. They might recall going online to find recipes, science projects, or learning about how wind direction influences the weather. Never before in history have we had a larger library available in most of our homes.
Additionally, we’ve been given the gift of time with our kids to find and complete satisfying projects. GT kids are bright. We know they can finish and submit their regular days’ schoolwork through an online classroom in a very short amount of time. This opens a great part of the day for other activities. How about assigning a pizza project? What’s the chemistry behind yeast? Some dough rises and others stay flat. Yeast isn’t just for bread, you know. Have you ever made root beer at home? A regular two liter bottle with a threaded cap works well, and it’s very easy to know the carbonation is building by squeezing the sides.
Water continues to flow downhill and our online world is still open to us. With so many good ways to engage our kids (or students) that can include their whole family, this can be a time of tremendous growth and positive memories.
Hillarie Roth, President-Elect (with input from her husband, Dean Roth)