Feeling the Feelings
"Parents Are Not Okay" by Dan Sinker
The Atlantic, August 22, 2021
Dan Sinker finds language for the extraordinary difficulty of this pandemic time for parents, an important perspective for educators to hear and to keep in mind as we move into and through the new school year. "I am furious and I am afraid," he writes bluntly. "It happened in a flash: It was good, then it was bad, then we were right back in the same nightmare we'd been living in for 18 months." As the Delta variant evolves, Sinker expresses his dread of this new school year's beginning in person, without a remote option, even though the remote learning experience was less than positive for many students and families. As we create and adapt policies in schools, Sinker's voice (and the parent perspective he represents) is one we must heed; indeed, empathy is the first part of the design thinking process, among other frameworks that guide our practices. Some educators, too, will find the directness and raw honesty of this piece affirming as a testament to the daily dilemmas of this period in our lives and our vocation. Sinker writes, "This is not okay. Nothing is okay. No parent is okay, and I'm not sure how we come back from this." And while part of what we do as educators is believe in ways forward and take steps meaningfully toward them, feeling the feelings or saying the unsayable can serve as a potent healing force.