Children are not really returning to school now since they’ve actually been studying and learning throughout many long weeks of isolation – a time that may prove to be, in retrospect, the most significant period of learning in their lives.
True, there is chaos in the schools, and it is not clear when our kids will return to class – if at all – this year. True, we and they have been climbing the walls. True, they have missed many pages of schoolbook learning. Yet, this period will be deeply seared into their souls.
They have learned how to cope with crises, how their teachers have sacrificed and strived to teach even under difficult circumstances, how their families have coped with financial and emotional stress and uncertainty about their physical health from one day to the next.
Our children have learned how to maintain a connection with grandma and grandpa without hugs, how to manage with their brothers and sisters when cooped up in isolation, and how to follow new rules that changed their lives.
This has been a different kind of learning. More important than what they learned on Zoom was learning how to react appropriately when Zoom got stuck.
On Shabbat, we read in Parshat Kedoshim the following words: “Do not go around and gossip. And you shall give glory to the elderly. You shall neither take revenge nor bear a grudge. And you shall love your fellow as yourself.” This is the most difficult learning material and the most important in life, especially during this time.