Lockdown Top Trumps

It can feel like a game of lockdown top-trumps at the moment, where everyone competes for the most difficult situation. Locked down by yourself – unlucky, locked down with young kids – unlucky, locked down with kids and trying to work – extremely unlucky, locked down with your partner – unclear. Have some outdoor space – lucky, able to still exercise – lucky, and so the game goes on.

My friend Richard lives on our street and is known for his upbeat and positive attitude along with his dedication to sport and fitness. Who better to share his lockdown survival story! In this guest blog he talks about the highs and lows of not just surviving, but thriving, in lockdown with a teenager and eleven year old. Over to Rich!       

GUEST BLOG: We’re on day 30 of lockdown in East Jerusalem.  31 days ago, our children (15 and 11) were tearfully hugging (in the days of direct contact!) their friends goodbye in a leafy area of the UK, and stepping timidly into a profoundly different life.

We’re a half-glass full kind of family, and we immediately agreed on the flight from London to Tel Aviv that whatever life was about to throw at us, we’d deal with it! 

Collecting our cases at the airport, we realised they had been mauled.  And that the laptop we intended to use for remote study had been broken.  Never mind we thought, we can get by with one between two children.  That night we slept very briefly, and arose the next morning brim-full of optimism.  However, the schools, in their haste to provide continuity of education, had uploaded a mountain of work for us to print – along with a missive reminding us that we’re already a day behind as we’d been travelling.  I started to print.  Printer ran out of ink.  We couldn’t get ink anywhere, and we now couldn’t order it from the UK as delivery services had stopped.

My son had maths, measuring angles to boot, “Who’s got a protractor???” he yells.  We all looked at each other.  “We’ll make one!” I shouted back.  Oh, we need to be able to print and cut it.  We were reduced to guessing angles… thinking that ‘estimation’ is also a useful and solid mathematical concept.  We were wrong, later that night we got another missive beginning with “why did Oscar complete his Maths work so badly and why did he miss his Cricket class?”  By now I said, “stuff this, how are we supposed to practice cricket concepts in isolation in a 2nd floor apartment!”. We were still on Day 1 but now my half-full glass was completely drained with the glass smashed, so I went and hid under the duvet.

The new home classroom

Fast forward 29 days, and I like to think we’re all in the same boat now.  And I mean everyone around us.  I’d sum it up by saying that generally, expectations have declined to a mutually agreeable point.  And if they’re not agreeable, tough.

Despite the difficulties of rapidly adapting to remote learning and isolation, things aren’t just good, they’re surprisingly better.  Things still go wrong all the time – be it software failure or a missing educational supply need, but we now shrug it off and do a work-around.  If nothing else, this is teaching another skill – resilience!  The unexpected benefit is that remote learning is efficient.  No more trudging between classes, no more queuing for meals, and no more getting changed before and after PE. 

Rooftop exercises

Now the children hop out of bed, go running with the dawn chorus, spend any time they need filling skill gaps, before cracking on with their (non-printing) remote education with gusto.  They use the breaks for fancy-dress workouts with friends and family or with our Right to Movement family based here in Jerusalem and across the OPTs.  They have a constant supply of ‘on-demand’ hot vegetables in the form of a 24-hour crock-pot operation!  Even after remote learning has ended, they like to explore new concepts with much greater depth as there are now no boundaries.  Sometimes conversation/ research can go on until bedtime, with the TV not going on at any point. 

What’s not to like.  The risk in my humble opinion, is that we all actually get used to this new normal.  My wife says, “not a chance!”  And I’ve never known her to be wrong….

How are you finding lockdown and what are your tips for surviving it? I’d love to hear from you. You can also submit a guest blog on any topic by clicking here.

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