When living in close quarters with individuals, you quickly get a sense of their overall nature. Although I often get frustrated with my boys living at home right now, at the end of the day I’m thankful they are kind, considerate and well-intentioned – and given the tumultuous life circumstances we all face right now, that goes a long way with me.

During crisis situations, priorities come to the surface, and because we all have different concerns of interest, conflict is inevitable. One need only to tune in to a newscast, Facebook feed or friendly neighborhood discussion turned savage to experience the Covid-crazy first-hand.

So, I think now might be a good time to revisit Robert Fulghum’s best-seller, All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. “Share. Be kind. Play fair. Say you’re sorry. Hold hands. Stick together.” I don’t know about you, but for me, I believe these are the exact behaviors that seem to be in short supply in our country right now.

Teachers, education is a priority – but it can’t be a higher priority than working to shape our kids of all ages into good people. Ten years from now students will not remember the specific cognitive lessons we taught them during the pandemic – but they will definitely remember how they were treated, what or who we as teachers cared about, and the priorities on which we focused.

My recommendation? Breathe. Cut yourself some slack. Adjust your priorities. While you are working to teach to the academic standards, don’t forget that cognitive skills mean very little if they don’t sit in a context of healthy social, emotional and ethical development. So, perhaps the latter needs to take priority over the former – at least for now, and the foreseeable future.