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“Do the Next Right Thing. Breathe. Repeat.”

“In a matter of weeks, I can imagine these school supplies getting sent home in a transition to remote learning, only to scatter indiscriminately throughout my house. But all I could do today was to do today. I’ll do tomorrow tomorrow.”

School supplies for ADHD students
https://www.pexels.com/photo/creative-painting-school-colorful-2280913/

Guess what I did today? I school supply shopped.

Two years ago, I paid a company to do the work of prepackaging the necessary school supplies. Last year, I missed the order deadline for that magical option, started developing hives at the thought of my ADHD frazzle brain taking four children to Target hell to dig up specific colors of one-subject, wide-ruled spiral notebooks and many more equally specific items, and hired a college-aged neighbor to do the shopping for me. This year, COVID took away the prepackaged option and my college-aged neighbor got a job, so I was left to brave the task alone.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because the whole time I was poring over approximately 622 Crayola products to find the broad tipped, washable, primary color, 8-count marker option, I couldn’t help but think…

  1. What happened to the simpler time when chalk (any color will do!) was all you needed on the first day of school?
  2. And that the significant bucks I was spending on classroom supplies was likely going to be a big fat waste of money, as, in a matter of weeks, I can imagine those supplies getting sent home in a transition to distance learning, only to scatter indiscriminately throughout my house.

But all I could do today was to do today. I’ll do tomorrow tomorrow.

[The ADDitude Guide to Distance Learning for Students with ADHD]

Our school district is starting out with in-person learning. I still don’t know if it’s a terrific idea, but that didn’t stop me from doing cartwheels in the kitchen the moment the superintendent made the call (five months of stay-at-home parenting with these peeps has been hard, ok).

The second I completed my little celebratory gymnastics session, though, I realized that announcing the decision to start the year in person sure doesn’t guarantee it will stay that way. Any way you look at it – no matter what part of the world you live in and what type of scenario you find your kids learning in – it’s gonna be a weird year. All we can hope for is doing today to the best of our ability, then repeating again tomorrow.

I think I’m learning what geniuses Disney writers are, because in Frozen II the troll instructs doing the “next right thing.” Later in the movie, this advice guides Anna when she’s in her darkest despair. She totally sings a song about it.

Today I bought school supplies. Tomorrow my kids are taking them to school. A month from now they (my kids and the supplies) might be back home. All we can do is the next right thing based on the information we have at our disposal.

My hope is that we can learn from this pandemic to fully do the moment we’re in (since it’s the only moment we’ve got), to do the next right thing without looking back, and, also, to do kitchen cartwheels just for the hell of it every once in a while.

School Supplies for a Weird Year: Next Steps


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Updated on August 28, 2020

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