Did the job of parenting become significantly more of a challenge within the past year with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Suddenly parents were confronted with decisions regarding how best to keep their child healthy while seeing to it that his or her education did not suffer. Was the virtual option the best choice available or was it better to keep youngsters learning in a classroom with a teacher?

Not surprising the educational results were mixed when it came down to which option worked best. While not a complete bust, the virtual learning method did not yield the results that most education administrators had anticipated. This was frequently due to the fact that students were either not logging into their classes or not doing the assignments.

Thankfully my wife, Nancy, and I did not have such difficult decisions to make when we were in the child-rearing years. Like countless parents when our first four kids, Caleb, Jacob, Amanda and Amber, reached school age our focus was on getting them to school and back home safely, and making sure that school assignments were completed. When our fifth offspring, Anna, reached school age we decided to take a different educational approach and homeschooled her, but that move was not made because of a pandemic's threat.

While we did not have to wrestle with educational decisions regarding our children as a result of the COVID virus, the same cannot be said for a couple of our children, who are now parents themselves. Amber has a 6-year-old son, Aiden, who is in kindergarten. He is attending school in a St. Louis suburb over in Illinois and reportedly is doing quite well. Aiden's cousin, 7-year-old Evelyn, who is Jacob's daughter is enrolled in the first grade in a school district that is located in Kansas, just west of the Missouri-Kansas border in the Kansas City area. Unlike Amber and her husband, Shawn, who have Aiden attending class in a school building, Jacob and his bride, Whitney, have Evelyn attending school virtually from her home. Based on the reports we receive Evelyn is doing an outstanding job.

Although Evelyn does not see her classmates face to face, she still interacts with them virtually. It is during such encounters that Evelyn has learned an important lesson about standing up for herself if someone attempts to take advantage of her. Just such a situation arose recently.

According to Whitney, Evelyn was assigned a math exercise along with a boy in her class. Their assignment was for each one of them to roll a pair of dice and then add the dots together which appeared on top.

Before beginning the young man asked Evelyn if it would be all right with her if they just played for fun instead of worrying about who won and lost. My granddaughter agreed to the terms of that he proposed.

Whitney was in an adjoining room when she heard Evelyn state in a loud and firm voice, "WHAT... THE... HECK!"

As it turned out Evelyn's math partner had kept a total of what they had rolled and when he had the higher total he immediately invoked bragging rights, much to Evelyn's annoyance.

I am not sure what all Evelyn learned that day, but I am glad she seemed to learn the lesson about it being all right to stand up for oneself when the rules are revised without warning.

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