From Trauma to Transformation: Finding the Silver Lining in The COVID Cloud

In this uplifting and encouraging episode of Brainy Moms, Dr. Amy and Teri share that although 2020 was a difficult year with suffering and frustration and loss, there are stories of success and triumph and hope as well.  They share tips on how we can adopt a mindset of growth and transformation as we are coming out of this global pandemic, and discuss examples of how the pandemic has led to positive changes and ways to help children identify the positives in their own lives.  

Read the transcript and show notes for this episode:

Episode 110:
From Trauma to Transformation: Finding the Silver Lining in The COVID Cloud

Dr. Amy Moore: Hi, and welcome to this episode of Brainy Moms. I’m Dr. Amy Moore, and I’m here with Teri Miller and we are coming to you from sunny Colorado! Our show today is called From Trauma To Transformation: Finding the Silver Lining in The COVID Cloud. And we chose this topic because this has been a really hard year with a lot of suffering and frustration and loss, but we are also seeing stories of success and triumph and hope. And we’re hearing people talk about ways that the pandemic has actually led to positive changes in their lives. And so we want to dig into that a little bit and share that with you guys. So Teri, let’s just start with you. What positives have you experienced or heard about?

Teri Miller: Well, for us, when the whole pandemic began for our family you know, for, of course at first it was really scary. Like, what does this mean? And what’s going to happen? But within just a couple of weeks, it was kind of like Christmas holidays in the spring time. So it was, I guess it was last April when everything kind of shut down. My kids in college came home, we ended up like family reunion, everybody back home. It was kind of crowded and chaotic, but it was so much fun. Again, it was like, you know, Christmas holidays in the spring. And I think we all gained like 10 pounds having fun food and, you know, you bake altogether. And so that was really sweet and enjoyable and great bonding time for us, even though it was a scary time we were having sweet family time.

And then in later months, I noticed, I talked to you about this yesterday, I noticed that at the gym where I’m super involved and super active, I like to work out, you know, anywhere from like three to five days a week. I love it. I’m a silly gym rat.

Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah, just rub it in!

Teri Miller: I just, well, it’s just fun. That’s just, and that’s kind of become even more so my social group. And so at the beginning, when all this happened, the gym switched over and for a while it was closed and then you had to sign up for classes and I like taking the classes. And so people signed up and there was only nine people per class, you know, plus the teacher 10 and we were all spaced out and not spaced out, but you know, spaced out on the floor. Right. But anyways, so yeah, it was just amazing. This core group kind of grew up out of that because we were the ones that were consistently signing up and it just became this really, really sweet friend group and support and encouragement. And so that was a neat benefit. It became this tighter connection instead of being withdrawn. Yeah, it was good for our family. What about for you? What good things came about?

Dr. Amy Moore: So, I’m an introvert and I’m a chronic illness warrior. Right. And so I enjoy being at home and I’m healthier when I’m at home. And so really the ability to work from home has been phenomenal for my health, physical health and mental health. And I’m absolutely more productive that way. Yeah. Right. And I know that, that seems, I know that you especially miss the water cooler chitchat in the office, whereas to me that’s a distraction. Right? And so I, like, I prefer just the focused, quiet, you know, solitude in order to do, you know, my work off camera. And then I love how streamlined meetings are on Zoom compared to how they are in person. When, you know, you make small talk before and after and not everyone’s going to be able to relate to that. But to me it, it really gave me time to rest my body from not having to be in the rat race of traffic in the mornings and in the afternoons and breathe shared air.

And so that was really the biggest silver lining, you know, that I noticed this year too, but you know what? I actually posed the question on Facebook. And so I want to share some of the responses that I got. All right. So here’s one, “We became closer as a family. Because life was forced to slow down. We had time to really enjoy our time together, family meals every night and real conversations from the kids. And it taught us to appreciate the little things in life.” Someone else said,  “It showed me to keep, it showed me to keep it simple. Life, work, parenting. And I also curved my spending and it allowed me to pay off some debt.

Teri Miller: That’s good. That is a really good benefit. I bet that was true for a lot of people.

Dr. Amy Moore: Oh, well I said to somebody the other day, I didn’t buy any shoes this year!

Teri Miller: Oh yeah. Cause you weren’t just out and about. Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore: Right. And if you know me, you know, that I’m kind of a shoe hog. So, you know, I got no new pairs of boots except I got a pair for Christmas, but I didn’t buy those myself!

Teri Miller: Nice and lipstick. I don’t, you know, the lipstick lipstick industry, how’d you have tanked this year because everybody’s in a mask who cares about lipstick. Right?

Dr. Amy Moore: Although I have to wear twice as much for Zoom meetings because of the way the light washes you out.

Teri Miller: That is so true. Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore: Okay. So another friend said “My son was 13 and at a time when teenagers are typically pulling away from their parents, we got to spend a lot of quality time together. We went for hikes in the woods, did a lot of baking. I will forever be grateful for the time we had.”

Teri Miller: That is so sweet!

Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah. And I resonated with that, you know, because I have a 16 year old and you know, really did get to communicate more fully with him this year. So I understood that. My sister-in-law said “Because of COVID we did fire pit gatherings with the neighbors and all got closer.”

Teri Miller: Wow. That’s nice. But they had cool neighbors that weren’t afraid about afraid of being together. That’s awesome.

Dr. Amy Moore: We actually did the same thing with our backdoor neighbors. They have a really cool fire pit and we spent some time with them doing the exact same thing.

Teri Miller: That’s so sweet.

Dr. Amy Moore: So let’s see, I had another friend who said accessibility. So she has a child in a wheelchair and she said, “social distancing leaves more room for wheelchairs and walkers.” Something I would have never considered. But absolutely. I mean, how neat was that for her?

Teri Miller: Yeah. Yeah. Just more space. Yeah. The world’s not as crowded.

Dr. Amy Moore: And somebody else said, “I reconnected with lots of friends virtually that had gotten lost over time. I embraced new ways to accomplish goals and do business. I became more purposeful in my shopping and travel. And most of all, really dive deeper than ever into my personal relationship with Christ and others that I love.”

Teri Miller: That’s awesome.

Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah. She really dug in. I had one friend who said,  “Some believe every cloud has a silver lining while others believe every silver lining has a cloud. It’s all about perspective.”

Teri Miller: Oh, that’s excellent. I love it.

Dr. Amy Moore: It is and we’re actually going to talk about that, right? Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, I had a lot of friends talk about, you know, just the ability to spend more time with their children, with their spouses, with their families. That was the overwhelming majority of comments that I got, you know, the extra time that they got to spend this year.

Teri Miller: Well, these weren’t comments that I received, but kind of resources that I’ve pulled that we’ve seen out in the world, out in the media, it’s really interesting. Like an, an amazing benefit is environmental. That environmental situation, that pollution rates really went down. And so that’s, that was really cool. I mean, that’s a great silver lining. I mean seriously improving the clouds, you know?

Dr. Amy Moore: Absolutely. So, I posted the same question on LinkedIn. Somebody mentioned that, and I said, yeah, here’s a link that shows some before and after pictures of downtown Los Angeles and some other major cities. And it was a crazy difference when there’s, when they didn’t have the smog, the, just the beautiful city scapes, the mountains, the water, right? I mean, and that’s absolutely better for the environment.

Teri Miller: And you have to think that, okay. So another one, another thing that’s been in the media that I pulled an article about is just the tech changes that kids and parents are both learning. And, and what people are saying, what the media is saying is we’re probably not going to go back completely to the way it was like ever again. Many, many companies are learning that it’s more effective to let people work at home. And the tech now supports that for education, for all these things. And so that means this could have created a shift where there are, there’s just fewer commutes, there’s fewer cars on the road. There’s less pollution. Awesome environmental benefit, awesome. Silver linings.

Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Teri Miller: Another one was sleep. And this was a really cool thing. Several articles in the media right now, and research articles about improved memory and cognitive levels and psychological health for getting later start times for these school kids for high school kids, especially because in that puberty age, high school kids, you think as they’re getting older, they need less sleep, but there’s this little spell when kids are in high school that they’re actually needing more sleep because their bodies are growing so much. They’re hormonally changing so much. And kids end up in high school years getting so much less they’re up till 10, 11, 12 at night, doing homework or chatting with friends. And then they’re up at six in the morning or earlier for girls that get up and have to fix their hair, put on their makeup. And you know, so with these later start times and online school kids are getting better sleep. Parents are getting better sleep and that’s a big health benefit for everyone.

Dr. Amy Moore: Absolutely. And I credit that for being part of the reason why my health is so much better too, because I get an extra hour of sleep in the mornings not having to get up and, and do the commute and get ready for the workday that way. Absolutely, pack your lunch. And I mean, it saves, I can use that time to sleep. Yes.

Teri Miller: Yeah. Yeah. Big difference.

Dr. Amy Moore: So a few weeks ago, Rick Warren, who’s the pastor of Saddleback Church in California was finally able to deliver his first in-person message since the pandemic started, right, because California had really strict lockdown rules. And so he did a series on the topic called Doing A Reset For a Better Life After COVID. And so you and I watched two of those messages, the video of it, and here are a couple of things that he said, here are the takeaways: Extract the lessons we’ve learned and consider if our experiences were wasted. Make a “Don’t Do List” instead of a to-do list of things that we used to do that we aren’t going to do anymore.

Teri Miller: Yes. Like pack your lunch.

Dr. Amy Moore: Right. And I think his issue was eliminate the non-essential things that waste our energy and hold us back. Yeah. Right. So a “don’t do list” of the unhealthy habits and the un-essentials that we’re going to get rid of. And then Excel at what really matters. Live on purpose and choose good priorities.

Teri Miller: Yeah. I think it’s so similar, like that perspective and everything he talked about was so similar to something that my husband talks about. And so my husband actually did a podcast episode on this. I don’t, I should know the episode. I don’t know the episode, but he did a podcast episode recently The True Life Show with his business, with his partner, Dr. Randy James at True Life Medicine. And they did the show on rest and reboot. And it’s this incredible analogy. So similar to, to the Saddleback message to Rick Warren’s message about getting that reset, like a computer or a phone, think about it. You have to recharge it. You have to plug it in and recharge it. So you need to like, you know, shut it down, don’t use it for a while. But every once in a while you have to do a reboot, you need to upgrade your OS, right? Your operating system. I mean, everybody gets that, you get that on your phone, you get the little message, you know, it’s time to upgrade your OS. And so he talked about that.

That’s so essential for us as human beings and what a perfect time we’ve had kind of a time of reboot or we’re in a time of reboot with the pandemic. Well now, what are we going to do to upgrade our operating system? We’re not going to just, it doesn’t make sense to say, I’m gonna, I’m gonna recharge my phone and then pull it out, and, oh, I’m just going to keep using the same old operating system. And 10 years from now, I’m going to have the same old operating system. Well, it gets so inefficient. You come to a point where you can’t take another picture, you can’t text anymore that it’s, you’ve not been able to keep up with all the input and all the new technology and all the new opportunities. And so right now, we’re in this incredible opportunity to upgrade our personal human operating system.

Dr. Amy Moore:  Wow. I love that. I love that analogy. I think it’s something that everyone can understand. Right. And so we will put links to Rick Warren’s messages and the True Life Show that Teri’s husband hosts as well in, in our show notes so that you guys can listen to those great messages too.

So I want share a little bit from an interview from an article in the New York times last week on the same topic. So the interview was with Dr. Katie Milkman, who is a professor at Wharton and author of the book, How To Change: The Science Of Getting From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be. And her research is focused around the idea of the fresh start effect. And that’s where people are more likely to start or set goals around what she says are temporal landmarks. Landmarks in time, like New Year’s Day, your birthday, the beginning, like the first day of spring, those landmarks, you know, throughout our calendar.

Teri Miller: A new year’s resolution, spring cleaning, all that kind of..

Dr. Amy Moore: Absolutely. Yeah. You know, I’m turning 50 this year, so you get healthy or whatever, right? Yeah. And so she says that these landmarks in time, temporal landmarks, create a psychological mindset for change or a fresh start. And so she says the end of COVID is one of those fresh start opportunities, right? This was her quote: “ I don’t know when we’ll have another one, like it, we have this blank slate to work on. Everything is on the table to start fresh.”

Teri Miller: So great. It’s exactly the same perspective of that reboot that this is our opportunity. This is such a powerful time to start over, upgrade our operating system.

Dr. Amy Moore: Absolutely.

Teri Miller: Hey, let’s take a break for a second and read a word from our sponsor learning, alright?

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Dr. Amy Moore: Okay. I just have to show my new bell.

Teri Miller: Yes. Watch she is using the cutest little yellow happy face bell. Wait do it again.

Dr. Amy Moore: You know, it’s the kind that you put on at a counter to let that, you know, sales clerk know that you’re waiting. And so I thought we need a better ding and that what we are using. Anyway, but I’m so excited about them that I had share.

Okay. So I want to introduce another idea here, and then that’s the idea of post-traumatic growth. So we’re all familiar with post-traumatic stress, right? So post-traumatic growth is a different phenomenon that can occur when we’re exposed to a traumatic experience. And arguably living through a global pandemic can be a traumatic experience for many people, right? So post traumatic growth, it’s a term it’s been around since the 1990s. And some people associate that with resilience, but it’s different. So resilience is that ability to bounce back after an adversity or an adverse situation, right? This is different. Post-Traumatic growth is a fundamental change to our core beliefs that causes us to become different or better than we were before we actually experienced a trauma. So resilience is, Hey, you’re in the face of trauma. It hurts a little bit, but I have these qualities that enable me to just get over it very quickly like this, right? So you don’t actually experience the post-traumatic stress that came with that exposure to that trauma. With post-traumatic growth, you do experience the post-traumatic stress, but then you’re able to go one step forward and become different because of it. And research there’s a ton of research on it. And research is showing that 50 to 75% of people who experienced post-traumatic stress are able to then move forward and actually experienced post-traumatic growth. And so I think that, you know, you’ve been through this, you’ve experienced something similar. So talk about that a little bit.

Teri Miller: Well long before COVID, several years ago I was in a really severe car wreck icy pile up on Monument Hill. If anybody’s in the Colorado area, they would know the space. It’s a, it’s a bad spot for traveling and was actually hit by four cars and an icy pile up and experienced traumatic brain injuries, severe neck injury, kind of split my face open. And the biggest thing was just the anxiety that came after that. And so I was officially diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and actually was having panic attacks when I was trying to drive. I didn’t realize it at the time. I just knew I had to pull over and throw up and I can’t breathe and what’s going on? And I had to get on some anxiety medication, anti-anxiety medication, and it was a really, really rough time.

And so in the years following it, and it didn’t, it maybe took 18 months. I mean, it was a long time of pain recovery kind of getting back on my feet, physically, emotionally, psychologically. But then I realized, and I began, began speaking this truth to people that what had happened was, you know, awful, terrible, painful. And yet it was one of the best things that had ever happened to me in my life because so many things in my life, my life were transformed because of this trauma. And so like I began talking with the family about post-traumatic transformation disorder.

Dr. Amy Moore: I love that!

Teri Miller: Yeah. There were so many things in my life that were transformed in a lot of ways. I was transformed and there were things that had been truths in my past and in my family that were not truth. They, we didn’t live that way anymore. I didn’t behave the same way anymore. We didn’t have those same habits and patterns. And so things had extremely transformed. For example, before the wreck, I did all the bookkeeping taxes, bills, everything for our home, for our family. And when, when everything happened, I mean, I was taken out, I could do nothing. I had to quit homeschooling for a while. I mean, it was just a very, very rough time. And so the kids rose up to take care of all these things they hadn’t been taken care of before. My husband just had to take over the finances because somebody’s got to do it. And we’ve never gone back to me having to bear the weight of that responsibility all by myself. It is transformed, but the process wasn’t easy. It did feel a little bit like a disorder–post-traumatic transformation disorder, you know, cause it was a little painful.

I would say things like, I’m sorry, I know I used to do that, but I’m not going to do that anymore. Or there were some things like lifting certain things, physical limitations where I would say, I know I used to be able to do that, but now buddy, like my teenage sons or whatever, you know, I’d be like, y’all are gonna have to just help. Mommy can y’all do that. Y’all are strong. Y’all are gonna be mommy’s arms and help me out. And the kids rose to it. So it was a beautiful transformation and I’m, I’m grateful. I would not wish it on anyone else. I wouldn’t wish anyone else to go through what I did and yet I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah. Thanks for being so vulnerable and sharing that. I think that it’s, I, well, first of all, I love that you’ve coined this term post-traumatic transformation disorder. It’s just fun. I think we’ll have to quote that.

So related to what you’re talking about, I want to share something from Sarah Shaub. She’s a resilience trainer at the UCLA Veteran Family Wellness Center. And so her focus is on post-traumatic growth and she suggests that we ask ourselves the following five questions to promote this idea of post-traumatic growth in our own lives. So…

#1. What new opportunities or possibilities in life that have surfaced are you choosing to pay attention to as a result of this pandemic? So, new opportunities or possibilities.

#2. What strengths have you noticed in yourself as well as in others since the onset of COVID-19?

#3. How has this event positively impacted your relationship with yourself and others?

#4. How has your appreciation for life been positively influenced since the onset of COVID-19? and finally,

#5. How are you creating your own sense of inner peace during this time? And if you don’t have a particular method, what would you like to introduce into your life to support your own sense of inner peace?

And so, obviously we’ll put those questions in the transcripts so that our listeners can ask those, right? So that they can experience post traumatic growth or post-traumatic transformation too, by I think reflection is the key here, right? You’ve been through something and now you need to reflect on those experiences in order to grow.

Teri Miller: Yeah. I think that reflection is so important. Just like that idea of post-traumatic transformation. I think the, the way you turn the corner from PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, to that, that gift of transformation is that introspection, that digging in and going, okay, I could just sit here and wallow for the rest of my life and the fact that I have a neck injury now that I’ll deal with, for the rest of my life. And that can be my number one focus. And that’s all I see. Or I can ask these questions, like you just put forth and begin to dig in and think, okay, but what, what benefit came out of that? I went from, I went from this place of being sort of weak and fragile and I didn’t overcome things very well to being an overcomer, to realizing that I can dig in and work harder to get stronger so that I can have a strength I didn’t know I had inside me. And so there are these positives that can come out of trauma and bad experiences if like you said, Amy, if we dig it.

Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah. Beautiful. So, in counseling, you know, we talk about this idea of reframing or thinking differently about a situation, right? So we can’t always change the situation, but we can change how we think about it. And in changing how we think about it, we can change our feelings. Yeah. And so I think that I want to end on that whole idea of reframing this pandemic experience through a lens of growth, through the lens of transformation and getting rid of that all or nothing thinking, you know, and adopting you know, a more flexible mindset. And, you know, you were talking about, you’ve got some experience with this, with your kids, right. How you’ve helped them learn how to think about things differently. Can you share a little bit about that?

Teri Miller: Well, a little bit, but now you’re putting me on the spot. I didn’t, I don’t know that I’ve done that great. So no, I’m looking forward to the ways you’re going to help, help me dig in.

Dr. Amy Moore: Oh, okay, then why don’t you share the scenarios.

Teri Miller: Yeah. I’ll share the struggles. But then, I mean, you know, I talked to you yesterday and said, you know, I’ve, I’ve, we’ve done a couple of things, but I need more help. So I have nine kids. And so there’s a lot of different personalities in there and different ways that they cope with life and with trauma, bad experiences, good, whatever. And so it’s interesting, I think for other moms to listen to this, I kept thinking like, I bet someone, you know, most moms are going to be like, oh yeah. One of my kids is like that. Probably one of these three scenarios that we’ve really had to work on reframing with these kiddos. So I have an Eeyore kiddo, my son Canyon. He’s 15.

Dr. Amy Moore: What’s Eeyore? What’s that mean?

Teri Miller: Okay. Eeyore, sorry. So I’m thinking Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. He was the one who was the gray donkey. And he’s always like, oh, you know. Winnie, Winnie the Pooh would say, the sun is shining and Eeyore would go, oh, but it’s hot. You know? And then somebody else would say, there’s a rainbow. Well, because it was raining, you know, it’s so always this kind of like sad, depressed, it’s just so, you know, it’s just like, everything’s blue. You know, like my son Canyon overheard me talking about this yesterday. And he did not even know what we were talking about him, but I was saying, you know how some kids, if you go on a trip and it rains, you go on an adventure, a day adventure, and it rains during the day, then, you know, there was all these other fun things you did this ride and that ride and you went out to dinner and you had a blast and everyone laughed so hard. And, but then your, your kid goes, but it rained. The rain ruined it. And then the sad thing is what I realized is that later all the other kids look back on that trip two months later and they go, oh, wasn’t it fun when we did this and that, and that your kid goes, uh uh, it just rained. And so something in his brain happened and he couldn’t see anything, but that it rained.

Dr. Amy Moore: And all or nothing thinking. Yeah.

Teri Miller: Like my friend Hermine calls it Awfulizing.

Dr. Amy Moore: Catastrophizing.

Teri Miller:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. What do we need to, awfulize it. And so it’s like buddy, Canyon, honey, you’ve got to start speaking some positives about that day. And so we started practicing that, like tell me something good. That was about that day. And now tell me something else. And so it started helping him understand he’s really, he’s super, super smart, real into neurological processing. And so I’m like, you’re creating neural pathways, buddy, that are all about imaginative thinking. So come on, we’ve got to just, like you said, Amy, reframe it. And so I still need we’ve, we’ve worked some with him, but I still need a lot of help with reframing things for my grumpy child, my Nakoda Scott, he’s not that negative. He’s just kind of a little bit grumpy. Like if, if you said here, buddy, I got she’s some Easter candy.

He’d go, well, gosh. I mean, she got more green jelly beans than I did. You know, he just always kind of has this little grumpy complaint, even though he’s super cheerful, he just has this little grumpy twist. And then my extrovert son, Ian who’s 16 and in particularly COVID, he is generally upbeat, you know, encouraging, excited, positive about everything, but COVID has been so hard on him. It’s written been really hard for him to see any silver lining because he’s just been away from what gives him energy, his friendships, his community. So give me some tips, give all us moms of kids with, with maybe more challenging personality twists. How do we help kids reframe?

Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah. So I think the first thing that we do is we, we have to validate their feelings, right? They’re feeling that way. So we have to start by validating those, but then a lot of times they just need some tools to think about things differently. Right? They, I always say, let’s put that thought on trial. What evidence do you have to suggest that the situation is as bad as you think it is? Right. Because they are catastrophizing. Right. And so, you know, that’s where, that’s where I always start is let’s look at the evidence. So in your child who says the entire day was ruined by rain, what’s the evidence that rain ruined the entire experience? Let’s talk about what else happened. Right.

Teri Miller: What else is In your Easter basket besides not enough green jelly beans?

Dr. Amy Moore: Right, exactly. And so when you look at it, as, you know, putting the positives and the negatives on a scale, right, that rain is going to be the only negative on the day and 13 other positive things happened that day that are going to tip the scales in their favor. And if you can help them create a visual like that you know, sometimes that can help,

Teri Miller: That’s so good. I love that. Putting that, putting that thought on trial, putting that feeling on trial, putting those, putting that phrase on trial. That’s so good. You’re not putting your kid on trial. You’re just saying, Hey, let’s, let’s hold that comment up. And let’s investigate that.

Dr. Amy Moore: Yes. And I mean, that is a classic cognitive behavioral therapy tool that we want to give kids in order to help them think differently about a situation. Right. So you’re not actually putting it on trial. You’re going to guide them through putting that thought on trial night, helping them, amass that evidence on either side.

Okay. So of course I’m going to say connect. Yeah. Right. So connection helps build resilience and the idea that you’re not alone in managing the situation and living through this situation is so important. Right. And so that is always my number one go-to connect. Connect.

Teri Miller: So with the grumpy kid, I just want to challenge moms that I know, I know, I know that can be so hard with your Eeyore, your grumpy, whatever, like for the ones that, for the one that says, looks at the Easter basket and says, well, I’m disappointed because they had more green jelly beans. And I think the hard thing, well, we all want to say as a mom is dude, be grateful. You know, what is your problem? You’ve got like, you know, a chocolate bunny and some marshmallow piglets or whatever those nasty things are? Ducks? I don’t know whatever, you know what I’m saying, but just be grateful. That’s the thing we want to tell them is be grateful. You know, we want to like, get out. I’m like, what a brat, there’s this feeling inside us that says that. And I think it’s so hard if we can just, if we can just fake it, even if there’s not an ounce of compassion or empathy, everything I’m feeling is what an ungrateful, little snot, you know, whatever, you know that instead, if I can say, oh, buddy, that is a bummer. You know, I love green jelly beans too. You know, actually my favorite are pink. I love it when I get the most pink jelly beans. But just to just try that, I’m just faking it. But I think you’re right, Amy, if I could do that, I would probably completely break down the frustration for him because he would just feel validated and understood. And instead, I mean, I have to confess what I usually do is go, buddy, you need to be grateful, happy Easter to you. And then Easter mornings ruined. Right? Yeah. Good, good, good suggestion, Amy, thank you.

Dr. Amy Moore: Sure. Okay. One thing that I think that we should all do now that we’re coming out of this lockdown time is sit with our kids and make a list of everything that they got to do over the past year, because that COVID cloud is hovering over this past year, that seems wasted right? Online school and they hated it and they just, you know, slept walked through the year. When really did you? What did you get to do this year? Yeah, simple things. Like I got to play board games with my siblings to oh, well, I still got to, you know, play in the youth symphony, even though we had to wear masks, but I still got to perform or, and that’s one that, you know, I had to remind my 16 year old of yesterday. So make a list. And the idea again is to show evidence of good things that still happened this year.

And along that line, I think that we really need to work hard as parents at nurturing empathy and compassion and caring for others and amidst all of this turmoil that has happened in our country this year, we need to help our kids recognize that there is still beauty in humanity. And so we need to be pointing out when we see those examples. And so while there are so many examples of doctors and nurses and first responders and helping professionals, you know, who were out there in the trenches, doing great things this year, kids also did great things this year. And how fun is that to be able to point those examples out. In fact, there’s an author named Erin Silver and she published a book this fall called What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in The Time of COVID-19. (affiliate link to Amazon)

Teri Miller: So great.

Dr. Amy Moore: Yes. And so she searched the world, right. For examples. And here are a couple of ways that kids came up with these creative and thoughtful ways to help people from making 3d printed medical equipment, to food bank fundraising, to a neighborhood joke stand to creating a semiautomatic hand washing machine. These were ways that kids made a difference in their communities in the middle of a pandemic.

Teri Miller: That’s so cool!

Dr. Amy Moore: I know, right? So I’ll put a link to that book on our Brainy Moms Brainy Books page, and then also a link in the show notes so that you guys can check that out. Because I think that if kids can see those types of gestures, you know, it creates so much hope and inspiration.

Teri Miller: Absolutely. So that fully then kids can, can read things like that. And it’s not just mom and dad nagging them. Well, you know, why don’t you go do something nice for someone here’s, here’s some practical ideas. And so kids can get inspired to, to rise to that.

Dr. Amy Moore: Right. It could spark some of their own ideas, you know, based on their own hobbies and interests. Right? Yeah. And then I think finally we have to check our own inventories of growth and transformation. You know, we’ve talked about before that our attitudes and perspectives are so contagious. And so if we’re walking around complaining, then what is that telling our children? Right? But if we’re walking around saying, you know, one good thing that came out of this year is B and C right. Identify that, or, hey, here’s another thing I really loved about this year. And if you can tie it back to them as well, right. I mean, to be able to say, I know this year was hard, but I have to tell you how much I enjoyed spending more time with you than ever. Right. Because I love you. And I love spending time with you. And that might not have been as special to you, but I want you to know how special it was to me as a mom or a parent.

Teri Miller: I think it’s good to, to step back and realize that doesn’t mean you have to be Pollyanna. That doesn’t mean that you’re saying, oh, you know, I’m just gonna only speak the positives and this wasn’t hard. I mean, I think that part of connecting with your kid and empathy and compassion is saying, yes, I’m with you. That is hard. And it’s not saying, but let’s look on the bright side. Let’s be Pollyanna. You’re so happy all the time. No, we don’t have to do that. We don’t have to be fakey, but we can say it’s been hard and there were positives.

Dr. Amy Moore: Yes, exactly. You nailed it. You know that because we suffered, some people more than others. And we want to recognize that suffering. I mean, that teaches empathy. Right. But it also teaches growth and transformation and resilience. And the idea that you can overcome adverse situations like a global pandemic, right. That we can get through it together.

Teri Miller: Yeah. Absolutely transformations the goal.

Dr. Amy Moore: Absolutely. So this has been a great conversation and we are out of time. And so we do need to wrap this up. Hey, thanks so much for listening today. If you liked our show, please leave us a rating or review on apple podcasts, subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or on YouTube. And be sure to follow us on social media. We are under the handle @TheBrainyMoms. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram under Dr_ AmyMoore. So until next time look, we know you’re busy moms and we’re busy moms. So we are out.

Teri Miller: See ya!

Link to article by Sarah Schaub at UCLA Veteran Family Wellness Center:
A New Perspective: Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) from COVID-19 with COVID19_A New Perspective.pdf

Link to the children’s book What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19 by Erin Silver: (affiliate link to Amazon)

Link to Pastor Rick Warren’s message on YouTube:
Doing A Reset For a Better Life After COVID