I saw this referred to the other day on the internet. It makes perfect sense.
I am sure many of you are familiar with Maslow who was doing his work in the 50s. I had not thought about him since I taught Advanced Higher Business many moons ago! He started off as a behaviouralist before he broadened out his thinking. His “Hierarchy of Needs” theory was about motivation.
His triangle is below. Basically, if you are not familiar with his theory, he said that to reach the top of the triangle (being the best person you can be) you have to start at the bottom and satisfy every level first.
If you are for example a frontline worker you will not be meeting even the first level of needs most days (food, water, warmth and rest). I have the utmost admiration for you all.
For the rest of us, if you are watching what is happening in the world around us you will definitely not be operating in the second level (security and safety). You will be worried about family, friends and your own safety. Most of us are also concerned about our financial security and a range of other issues particular to each family unit.
So, if we think this is a reasonable theory, which it is broadly accepted to be, how can we possibly be achieving all the things we think we should when we are living in such distressing times?
Most of us cannot even reach the second level of the triangle! We need to be much kinder to ourselves and to others too.
This brings me on to education. I have been really sad to hear some people giving schools such a hard time for not providing an education that parents find acceptable. Hard-working teachers, who in my experience (in almost every single case) do their utmost to meet your child’s every need when they are at school, spoken about in less than complimentary tones.
Education, in my opinion, can wait. Parents have been and always will be, the prime educators. Take the time to spend it with your children, teach them things you know about, watch documentaries with them, read together, bake together, cook, laugh, exercise and build the family bonds stronger than they were before. What a lesson.
Your child is also operating at the bottom of Maslow’s triangle. They are separated from friends, worried about grandparents, parents, their security if parents are ill and all sorts of other things that go through young minds and are not always articulated. They cannot be expected to learn in the way they did before. They need time and space too.
As someone who spent my whole working life in education in a wide range of settings and positions, please take the time to relax together. If you can all be safe and get through this without losing someone (sadly, that will already be too late for some people reading this) would it not be lovely to be able to look back and remember what a lovely time it was, spending time together, doing simple things and cementing family bonds for years to come. Priceless.
Formal education will be caught up with when this is all over. Your children will have learned a wealth of other, far more valuable lessons, in my opinion.
Stay safe. x