Recently I have been thinking about the drastic effect COVID-19 will have on the children of this country and many others. Out of school and confined to home, our children are losing valuable time and experience. These are not just a few snow days that are being missed. There are weeks and months of education that will not be recovered easily. Even those with computers and pads who are following online lessons at home are still getting cheated. Certainly a great part of schooling is the social interaction, learning to interact with our peers and other societal members. I envision a generation that will grow up hoarding toilet paper and vowing never to be without it again in the best Scarlett O’Hara fashion (and perhaps they watched Gone With the Wind while staying safe at home…a good history lesson).
I am experiencing a little bit of what parents and families are going through. In this case the student is my dog, Atticus. Recently turned six months, Atticus is smart and primed to learn. I acquired him in late February and promptly signed him up for lessons at a nearby PetSmart Store. I met the trainer while shopping there and liked him. Our six week “puppy/beginner” class began on March 14th and there were four of us in the class, a really nice size. Everyone was excited and working hard. Atticus had some basics down already but the trainer had many tips for us. I already knew that these classes would be as much about training Alice as they were about training Atticus.
And then I got the call late in the following week—classes postponed indefinitely. I held out hope but a month into things it doesn’t look good. Last week I had to make a pet store run for dog and cat chow. I was lucky enough to encounter the trainer who told me that Monday was his last day. Corporate has no idea how long this will go on and it is “cutting fat.”
So I have been watching YouTube dog training videos and trying to do my best for Atticus but he is so smart and I know I am not the best teacher. This must be how thousands of parents are feeling. The disruption of COVID will last far beyond the current crisis and we may feel its worst effects in a decade or so when these young students enter the job force or apply to college. I wish them—and us—the best of luck. ❧