It’s breakfast time. I have three different kids who want three different things.

1 Bagel plain; not toasted; don’t open or cut it.

2 Bagel toasted; cream cheese and jelly; not too much jelly; make it a sandwich; cut it in half.

1 changed her mind. Now she wants cream cheese. Not too much cream cheese. Open it up, but don’t cut it. (Is this a test?)

3 comes down. She doesn’t know what she wants. Today looks like it is “I’m a vegan” day. She doesn’t want peanut butter or almond butter. But I know she needs protein. She searches through the pantry and decides to go on a hunger strike. (Is my coffee ready yet?)

You would think that with having a short order chef on hand at breakfast time, that there would be no complaining. But somehow, the natives are still not content. (Maybe they need coffee too?)

I get a little testy.

“No complaining. No whining. No crying. Just tell me what you need in a full sentence with manners.”

They have heard this before. I say it to them a lot. I want them to be in tune to what they want/need and I want them to be objective about it. I want them to speak their truth with strength without having to use emotion to get what they need. So being a mindful communicator starts with practicing at breakfast.

This year so many kids need so many different things. And what they need changes on the regular. As their parents and teachers it is important for us to recognize when something needs to be changed and mindfully communicate with your team. Perhaps we even coach our children to initiate the communication.

Too much work? Word too hard? Work too easy? Not engaged in recorded lessons? Is it too hard to type? Too hard to read on a screen?

Whatever the discomfort, have an actionable solution in mind. The solution may or may not work. We may need to change our minds. That’s okay. Being able to mentally pivot is preferable, even.

Whatever the situation of the day, I believe that Teachers, Parents, and Students are putting so much time, energy, and effort into making pandemic learning work. Nothing is perfect. So much is out of our control. Sometimes we need to work together to come up with a solution. Even better!

However; no complaining, whining, or crying.

Just tell each other what you need.

In a full sentence.

With manners.


Dr. Bennett