Dear parents . . . please, just hear me out.

As plans for this school year start falling into place, we all know meeting everyone’s wants and desires is literally impossible. We are all coming to this school year from different places, having had different life experiences, and with different concerns and worries. Our administrators and school board members are working countless hours trying to take everything they learn and research into account and doing their very best to make decisions for the greatest good and safety of everyone involved. They no doubt have lost sleep over what to do and how to do it.

While you personally may not agree with or approve of the decisions that have been made or are still yet to be made, as teachers and school employees we implore all of you: let’s come together and make this work.

Don’t complain about and belittle those who have had to make these difficult decisions, in front of your children. Don’t express your anger over these decisions with them. Don’t tell them we’re all wrong. Tell all of those things to your partner, spouse, or friends.

This school year is only going to work if we collectively stay on the same team.

And I can’t emphasize this enough: Your child’s experience this year at school depends largely on how they perceive you think it is going to go.

So please DO do these things. Set them up for emotional success. Please have real conversations with your children about how school is going to look this year. Help them adjust their expectations (and your own) and explain to them that lots of things are going to look different from what they have been used to. Their experiences of using supplies, work time in the classroom, lunch, walking in the hallways…it is all going to look and feel different. Have them practice wearing their masks little by little before school starts. Get really good at hand washing. Explain why we’re doing these things. We at school want your kiddos to know that everything we are doing is to make school as safe as it can possibly be for both them and for us. And do your very best to be excited with them for school starting, even if you have to fake it.

And if you hear nothing else, please hear this: Teachers, principals, counselors, secretaries, and other employees love your kids.

If we didn’t, there would be no reason to show up to schools and classrooms this year. Because no matter how much we have to improvise and reinvent and change things again and again, teachers love what we do. For most, it is a calling more than it is a profession. So think not just of your kids, but also of the teachers and school employees who will be showing up every weekday no matter the personal risk, to be there for your kids and your family. And we know you are taking a risk, too. We recognize as teachers, the immense trust you have to put in us as we guide your children safely through the day, because sending a piece of your heart to school right now, is in fact, scary. All of this. It. Is. Scary. But we are here in these trenches with one another and we are so much better TOGETHER.

Everything before us is going to require collaboration, grace, caring, and understanding.

Let’s all do our very best to think before we speak, to not jump to conclusions, to empathize, and try to see where others are coming from.

Maybe most of all, let’s remember that this way of doing things is not forever. But it is for right now. That is a fact. And all of it is HARD. Let’s acknowledge that, and move forward the very best that we can.

Your kids are resilient. We as human beings are resilient.

I promise you that we CAN do hard things like this, together.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Kristin Gierke Knott

Kristin is a wife and teacher, turned stay-at-home-mom to 3, turned substitute teacher, now that her youngest is in kindergarten. She loves sharing encouragement and faith with other mamas and their families through her work as a Children's Ministry Director at her church. She also loves her cats, chocolate and being outside with her kids once Nebraska recovers from winters. 

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

Please Don’t Tell a Couple Trying to Conceive to Just Relax

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Black-and-white photo of medical supplies

This is a plea. A plea to those who know someone who is struggling with infertility. So, if you’re reading this, this is directed right to you. Please, for the love of everything, when someone tells you they are struggling to conceive, do not tell them to “just relax.” I know it’s the cliche, default term most blurt out because they don’t know what else to say. It’s awkward to discuss for some. I’m 10000% positive it is coming from a good place and is meant to be calming and reassuring, and you really do believe it’s true because a...

Keep Reading

My Husband Having a Stroke at 30 Wasn’t in Our Plans

In: Faith, Living
Husband and wife, selfie, color photo

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) This verse in the book of Jeremiah has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, it’s felt relevant across many life events. Its simple, yet powerful reminder has been a place of solace, perhaps even a way to maintain equilibrium when I’ve felt my world spinning a bit out of control. In this season of starting fresh and new year intentions, I find great comfort in knowing...

Keep Reading

That Mom at the Playground Could Become Your Best Friend

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Young mother sitting on bench looking at playground

I didn’t realize I was that mom at the playground. That mom who always smiles at the other moms even if she doesn’t know them. That mom who often makes small talk while she pushes her toddler on the swings. That mom who strikes up a conversation while sitting on the bench watching her older kid play. That mom who can often tell whether you are interested in talking to her or not. And if you don’t seem interested, that’s okay. Because maybe you’re preoccupied with other things going on in your life right now. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with the...

Keep Reading

The Shattering Grief of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Sad person sitting in darkened hallway, black and white image

Navigating through my second Christmas without my dad, the weight of grief seemed even heavier this year. In fact, everything felt and looked different to me. As I unwrapped the ornaments and cards he gave me over the years, a tidal wave of madness and sadness engulfed me. I know many feel sadness and grieve during these times, but let me just say . . . suicide is a different type of grief. My vibrant, happy, physically fit dad committed suicide on April 30th, 2022. There, I said it. In the aftermath, a myriad of emotions consumed me. One perplexing...

Keep Reading

“I Can’t Do This Anymore,” He Said—Then Everything Changed

In: Living, Marriage
Woman with head in hands

The questions are very much valid. Did I know when I married him? Did I know when we struggled with infertility and trying to become parents? Did I know when we unexpectedly became pregnant with our second child? When did you know your husband was an alcoholic? The answer is simple yet so complex, I pretty much knew from the first year, yet I was in complete denial. When I met him, he was just my type—a bad boy with a bad reputation, yet so cute! On our third date or so, I saw how much he could drink and how...

Keep Reading

Mean Girls Aren’t Like the Ones You See In Movies

In: Friendship
Woman whispering in another woman's ear

Mean girls aren’t like Regina George. If they were, it would be easy to know to stay away from them. Not all mean girls are wealthy, image-conscious, stick-thin blondes. They also don’t always have the reputation of being “mean girls.” The problem is that mean girls are way worse than Regina George because they don’t look like mean girls. Mean girls can be your “friends.” Mean girls know how to gain and betray your trust. They are the girls who, on a rough day, ask you what’s going on not because they care about you, but so they can have...

Keep Reading

My Husband’s in Love with a Different Woman Now

In: Living, Marriage, Motherhood
Couple standing by Christmas decorations

He’s in love with a different woman now . . . I met my husband seven years ago. We got married and went on adventures. Went to some weddings and had a bunch of kids. Every Christmas party season, we would celebrate by going out to dinner . . . except this year that one dress didn’t fit. I had my husband try to zip it, and then my mom . . . there was no budging. I had been tiny, I had been heavy—sick and healthy. My weight had been a roller coaster always. But, this special dress had always...

Keep Reading

Sweet Commercial About A Dad and Daughter Reconnecting Over Taylor Swift Has Us Teary

In: Motherhood, News, Teen, Tween
father and daughter cuddled up on the couch watching football

It’s hard for any girl dad to imagine a time when his daughter will stop wanting to spend time with him. But seemingly overnight, she can go from a devoted daddy’s girl to a prickly, detached teen who is much more interested in what’s happening on her phone than hanging out with her old man. Suddenly it can feel like there is no common ground between them, and shared interests are few and far between. But this NFL season has been different for football-loving dads and their Swiftie daughters. A heartwarming commercial from Cetaphil with the tagline, “A New Sports...

Keep Reading

I Hope You Never Know What it’s Like to Forget Who You Are

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Woman staring at camera, black-and-white photo

I write best when I’m passionate. It’s always been my release. But lately, I’ve struggled to write. I’ve struggled to find purpose in my words. It’s all been twisted and choppy, not a bit poetic or beautiful. These feelings are what the struggles of loss, parenting, work, and marriage push against. It’s finding yourself over and over again and trying to make sense of the senseless. It leaves you questioning most things and leaves you feeling broken with no idea how to put yourself or others back together. I hope you never know. I hope you never know what it’s...

Keep Reading