Where the Wild Teens Are

I have been thinking of the various ways in which the pandemic has affected youth and there is no greater loss for them than that of safe places in our communities where they can gather and socialize and be their lovely, unfettered selves. Wise societies have always found ways to allow teens to learn about…

Playing School

If you’re a parent, it helps to have a good memory. Remember being 4 years old and starting school. You arrive on the first day in a new outfit: a new sweater and shoes that are just a little too big. Your teacher is giving you books and a fat pencil to learn to write…

Miracles

School is back. It looks different in many ways, but, in many other ways it is exactly the same. There are announcements and “O Canada” and land recognition, just like there were last year. What is not the same when I am speaking with students is that I am hearing some statements I do not…

Masks

It is a lovely feeling to walk into a building that has been empty for months but is beginning to be repopulated for its usual function. In my case, this is a school, since I am now working in a school program housed within a local high school. As I walk through the hall to…

Black Lives Matter

We form our impressions through the people we meet. The first black people I met were teachers. Mr. Perryman was a social sciences (history and geography) teacher at the little English school in the town where I grew up. He taught his classes lecture -style, telling stories of historical figures and ancient lands. He referred…

Just Relax

I am by nature an anxious person. Bad news sets me off and I am always imagining worst case scenarios. I can overthink any situation and make catastrophes seem reasonable. However, after years of suffering from anxiety, I have found a way to manage it. I am an expert at self talk. I know what…

Making Memories

If you work in youth mental health, you are aware of many articles being written about how much COVID-19 has affected children’s and youth’s mental health. The evidence is that the pandemic has left children and youth feeling depressed and anxious and exhausted – even before the school year has started. The education and health…

Drills

In Canada, we are worried about our children returning to school safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are worried about keeping everyone safe. I know I am. I have so many questions. Will we be able to convince youth to wear masks? Are we doing enough? Are we forgetting anything? How will…

Try to Remember

Imagine last summer, at the end of August. Do you recall checking through your children’s backpacks and clothing? You wanted to be sure they had gym shoes, a serviceable lunch bag. You needed to be certain their windbreaker still fit. Perhaps like thousands of other parents, you tried to get a jump on back-to-school supply…