Schooling during a pandemic: Are the parents and kids doing alright?

This week, the Dear Culture podcast is unpacking how parents and children are faring during the coronavirus pandemic

As the Black community continues to reel from the decision not to charge anyone in the death of Breonna Taylor, Black parents and children are figuring out what back-to-school is like during a global pandemic.

In the wake of tragedies, school still remains in session with parents supervising online school to becoming part-time teachers. This week, the Dear Culture podcast is unpacking how parents and children are faring at this time. Hosts Shana Pinnock and Cortney Wills are asking the critical question, “Dear Culture, how are our kids really coping in all the craziness?”

“For the parents smoking on camera, changing behind the Zoom screen– I want to clown, that’s a mess. Get it together. But I get it, laptops are portable. I might not realize [my child] walked into my closet when on a Zoom call,” theGrio’s Entertainment Director Wills.

At a time like this, where parents are tasked with teaching and coaching their kids through plenty of uncertainties, Black families are having to learn how to re-work and navigate the stressors of life. With politics and public health on the line, the most important thing to remember is strength is a virtue worth opening up and crying about, according to the hosts. 

Read More: California school district gifts hotspot after students use Taco Bell’s Wi-Fi for schoolwork

“I’ve answered more phone calls from my ‘strong friends’–from the women who don’t cry. They’re devastated, scared, angry. It’s hard to put on a smile and carry on,” Wills continues.

Amidst all of this, parents continue to maintain their jobs and hustles to keep the lights on, food on the table and bills paid. When the struggle is real, Black parents learning to smile in the face of pain and confusion is both historically beautiful and not surprising. Tenderness and self-teach during trials and tribulations is the unspoken ethic of Black American life.

Students At The University Of New Mexico Attend Classes On First Day Of New School Year
Bottles of hand sanitizer sit next to a laptop showing a Zoom meeting as students begin classes amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the first day of the fall 2020 semester at the University of New Mexico on August 17, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

“We need content for our family. Black joy highlighted, illuminated and celebrated,” the hosts explain.

Dear Culture also touches on BOOKMARKS: Celebrating Black Voices, Marley Dias’ fresh and bold Netflix show, that is airing at an apt time. Transitioning the community’s focus to celebration changes our collective emotional well-being. Dias’ show bridging happiness, representation and literacy is just one of the many ways Black life reorients to more beautiful futures, the hosts say. In times like these, Black people creating amazing art to learn is a mechanism the community truly deserves and requires–especially to those of us raising and/or bearing children.

Read More: Teacher departures leave schools scrambling for substitutes

theGrio’s Social Media Director Pinnock poses aptly the next important question: “What can Black folks who don’t have children do to help our homies who do [have kids]?”

Simply being there for your friends and family members with children is suffice, Pinnock and Wills conclude. Whether that is giving your friends gifts, calls, a healthy hug–whatever to ease their strife during this time. Show up for your friends and for their kids, because the love is real, right?

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