Bryan Gillette: Silver Linings

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Academic learning may be taking a hit, but Bryan Gillette thinks his children are learning important skills in the pandemic.

Children’s education has taken a serious turn this past year and most will say for the worse. And for the first few months of this pandemic, I would have agreed as my son’s teacher was MIA and he demonstrated emotional outbursts like we’d never seen. My son that is, not his teacher. I kept thinking about how this will have a long-term impact on my two boys. And then I thought, yes, this WILL have a long-term impact as it WILL prepare them for what lies ahead better than any classroom experience. For months I looked at the glass as being half empty, but I am starting to see how much water is actually in that glass.

As a manager who has hired many college grads, I looked for those who overcame extreme difficulty or managed through significant change. This is what my kids are learning.

At work, how many times have you had to identify a prime number, dissect a frog or explain the Marshall Plan? Me? Never. But I have had to deal with uncomfortable situations. Been asked to do something that seemed impossible. Or worked on tasks not in my job description. That’s life.

Granted, this year has thrown many challenges in front of us and I would rather it had never occurred. There have been more tears shed, doors slammed and angry words screamed than I would have liked. And not just from my kids. But the year did happen, so I am changing my perspective and seeing the silver lining during some very dark and cloudy days.

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While my kids have missed critical social time with friends, saw a decrease in their math and grammar education and couldn’t play their favorite sport, the lessons they learned will have far more value when they leave school and start their first job. I am confident they will eventually understand those math and grammar skills. But if not, Microsoft Word will underline the mistake and Excel will calculate the answer.

I recognize everyone’s impact is different and am hopeful most will come out of this stronger as adversity fosters growth and builds resilience.

With a Perspective, I am Bryan Gillette.

Bryan Gillette owns a leadership and executive coaching business in the East Bay.