There are certain times in our lives when we’re forced to make decisions on novel situations where we have very little data to go on. These can be decisions both large and small, but the lack of data puts us in somewhat of a bind. They’re agonizing decisions to make that can cause us undue stress. And while that’s perfectly acceptable, it’s doesn’t have to be quite as hard as you make it. The reason is because if you go about your thought process carefully and use a little bit of your gut, you should take comfort in the fact that in these situations, whatever you decide is the right answer.
Clearly I’m not talking about the decision to smoke crack or jump off a bridge. I want to very clear on this. There are plenty of decisions where you clearly have enough data to go on where you know whether or not the decision is wise or foolish. Running a red light isn’t a wise move in any circumstance, nor is the decision to go inside a bank and rob it. OK good, now that you know not the smoke crack or rob banks, let’s get practical.
Do I send my child to school this year?
What is arguably the hardest decision nearly any parent has to face in 2020 was whether or not to send their children back to school given what’s happening with Coronavirus all over the world. The amount of data, theories, and evidence for choosing either side is overwhelming. So much so that it’s been keeping moms and dads all over the world up most nights. On the one hand the amount of evidence supporting sending kids back to school is clear.
Almost every expert we see on TV is in agreement that the social benefits of in class instruction are far greater than online learning. Almost every expert agrees that children being around other children has considerably larger benefits than children being in isolation. It appears that nearly all of us know that sending our kids back to school is a good thing. There are very few detractors on this. I too am in agreement that sending my child to school is a good thing.
On the other hand, the issue that’s keeping parents up at night is a safety issue. Parents are worried for the health of their children as well as staff that they would be exposed to at school. While it seems evident that the risk of lethal disease in kids is low, the risk is nevertheless there. It’s given pause to many parents as well as teachers around the world, and has turned this into a global political debate.
Why I chose not to send my child to school
My wife and I are among the millions of parents out there who had to make this crucial decision. And as I stated before, I’m 100% in agreement with regards to all of the benefits of sending my child to school. The last thing I’d ever want to do is impede his progress from an educational and social standpoint. But in the end my wife and I chose to have him home for online instruction. While the decision wasn’t easy to make, it came down to one thing: safety.
We decided that despite all of the benefits of sending our child to school, none of those benefits individually or collectively trumped our child’s (and those around him) safety. But there’s more to this decision than simply that. Both my wife and I work from home. Both my wife and I have reasonably flexible schedules where we can be home and maximize our son’s chances to adjust to this new educational system.
We also believe our son won’t have a hard time making the transition (whereas we have another younger son who would have a much harder time), i.e. we don’t think he’ll fall too far behind. We also know that our son has cousins, relatives that he sees regularly and that his socialization shouldn’t fall off too far, if at all.
It’s an individual decision thus it can’t be wrong
When you have very little data to go on and your decision comes down to something that’s equally emotional as it is pragmatic, if you look inside yourself and go with your gut, it generally can’t be wrong.
For our situation, we know we’re making the right decision for our son. But what if our son had a learning disability and required in person instruction way more than other kids? What if both my wife and I had commuter jobs and had no choice but to send our kids to school or we’d risking losing our jobs and all of our income? Would I still be keeping my kid home? The answer is, “I don’t know,” but it would certainly make our decision making process way different.
And that’s why I respect the decision of all parents on this particular matter. Every situation is unique and no one can possible be in the minds and situations of all families out there. Take comfort in the fact that none of you are wrong.
When it comes to these particular matters in life, know that you’re doing the right thing.