Kids have good reason to think adults don’t know what they’re doing

Jordan Reid is the founding editor of Ramshackle Glam.
Liberal Opinion

Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam
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It’s no wonder our kids doubt every word we say. Adults have not given them good reason to trust us throughout the last two years, and the latest repeal of mask mandates isn’t helping.

Our school is apparently dropping indoor mask mandates soon – the rumor is that it’ll be in a week or so. 

And when I told my son this, I was excited, I can only describe the look he gave me as a “oh HELL no” look. 

And I explained to him – again – that he’s vaccinated. That the Omicron variant isn’t as bad as the previous variants. That infection rates are way down in our county. That it’ll all be ok soon.

Yeah, he said. That’s what you said last time. And I have to say, the kid has a point. 

Remember summer 2020, when there was like five seconds when we all started to re-emerge into the world… and then all ran back inside as quickly as we could?

And then there was summer 2021, which was supposed to be, like, hot girl summer or the Roaring 20s are back baby, or something like that?

And then Omicron happened. And….honestly, I can’t even keep the sequence of events straight in my own head – It feels like anything from March 2020 on is this big featureless blob of year. 

So I get why my son is wary when I say to him, “No it’s OK. You can take off your mask indoors.”

According to him, the adults in the room don’t know what they’re doing.

As parents, we walk a fine line between wanting to keep our kids safe and encouraging them to spread their wings and leave the nest. And if we, as parents, are conflicted about this type of back and forth, imagine how our kids feel! The fact is they don’t feel safe because their short histories have told them they might not be, especially when it comes to social interaction.

And we can’t continue to teach them  – as we have been these past couple of years – to be fearful of human connection – and, yes, a big part of human connection involves the ability to see each other’s faces. To know if someone’s smiling or frowning, and for children, part of learning how to be an empathetic human being involves learning how to attune themselves to those tiny indications of emotion on another child’s face.

My fourth-grader, who is 10, is still wearing a mask outdoors at school. 

He doesn’t have to; the school’s stopped requiring outdoor mask-wearing about two weeks ago, but he feels more comfortable that way, and…I mean…I get it. 

The kid has spent one-fifth of his lifetime in various stages of quarantine, with the adults around him freaking out about this invisible potentially deadly disease in the air one thousand percent of the time and like crossing the street to avoid a neighbor in case they might accidentally sneeze and kill you.

Our school is apparently dropping indoor mask mandates soon – the rumor is that it’ll be in a week or so. 

And when I told my son this, I was excited, I can only describe the look he gave me as a “oh HELL no” look. 

And I explained to him – again – that he’s vaccinated. That the Omicron variant isn’t as bad as the previous variants. That infection rates are way down in our county. That it’ll all be ok soon.

Yeah, he said. That’s what you said last time. And I have to say, the kid has a point. 

Remember Summer 2020, when there was like five seconds when we all started to re-emerge into the world… and then all ran back inside as quickly as we could. 

And then there was Summer 2021, which was supposed to be, like, hot girl summer or the Roaring 20s are back baby, or something like that?

I don’t know. I didn’t pay attention because I’m old, and I honestly don’t enjoy interacting with people that much, virus or not. 

But you could still feel there was a palpable shift in the energy.  People were ready to get back to life as they knew it. 

And then Omicron happened. And….honestly, I can’t even keep the sequence of events straight in my own head – It feels like anything from March 2020 on is this big featureless blob of year. 

So I get why my son is wary when I say to him, “No it’s ok.  You can take off your mask indoors.”

According to him, the adults in the room don’t know what they’re doing.

As a parent, I don’t know exactly how to feel about the rollback of all these restrictions. I want my children to go back to normal life, of course. I think we all want that, and I want to see how the lower halves of their faces look when I volunteer in the classroom because they’re so cute.

But I’ve also seen how all this back and forth and up and down and changing of rules and who knows what’s going on has made the kids very, very cautious. 

They don’t feel safe. Because their short histories have taught them that they might not be.

But that said, as parents, we walk a fine line between being vigilant about our kids’ safety, and we tell our kids to wear bike helmets, but we also let them go for a ride. And as much as we might want to raise them in a bubble, we know that we can’t do that.

And we can’t continue to teach them  – as we have been these past couple of years – to be fearful of human connection – and, yes, a big part of human connection involves the ability to see each other’s faces. To know if someone’s smiling or frowning, and for children, part of learning how to be an empathetic human being involves learning how to attune themselves to those tiny indications of emotion on another child’s face.

I get why my son is wary. I’m wary too, not so much because I’m concerned about his safety, but because I’m concerned about continuing this disaster of mixed messaging that’s causing him to distrust adults. 

But most of all,  I really, really want him to get to be a kid. To laugh with his friends, and see them laughing back. I want him to get to go live again. 


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