Thank you for visiting the Northland Foundation's 2019-2020 ANNUAL REPORT. The online report is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Safari. Please note that animations have been disabled from the Internet Explorer version of the report. If you wish to continue viewing with Internet Explorer, simply close out of this message.
By Molly Harney, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Minnesota Duluth
Throughout history, children have endured catastrophic events that brew like storms and sweep through entire communities, defining their childhood and an entire generation. Children affected by the Great Depression and WWII are still alive today to talk about the experiences that impacted their life’s journey. Through their stories, we learned powerful lessons about the importance of personal tenacity, community connection, and global awareness. We all can benefit from the shared perspective of past generations who weathered storms together.
Like storms of the past, COVID-19 is interrupting the stability that children have grown to expect. The kinds of experiences they have today will inform their choices and decisions for years to come.
Children are adapting to big changesclosures of child care programs, schools, churches, and parks. They are exposed to media messages. They are asked to interact differently with family, friends, and neighbors, and watch as adults in their lives try to navigate the ever-changing public service announcements.
Each child will weather this storm differently based on their pre-pandemic life circumstances. Some children are in “yachts”, some in “row boats”, others have “floaties” and unfortunately some children are holding onto “floating driftwood”.
Whether on a “yacht” or clinging to “driftwood”, children can be okay if the adults around them help make life more predictable. For most children, what they can predict/control they can manage. Learning to manage develops resilience.
The COVID-19 pandemic will have a long-lasting impact. Partnering with our children, with wisdom and compassion, gives new purpose to the generation who is raising them. We adults can be a beacon in the storm, the light that sets direction and provides guidance. Healthy adult-child partnerships will be the key to helping this generation, like generations before, to survive and thrive.