I’ve always been an observant person; it’s in my nature. When I was younger, observing people was a sport. I liked people watching. You can learn a lot about people by just observing their behaviors and body language and attitude. When I became a parent, my observation skills soared to new heights!

I keenly observed how my kids played, their eating likes, dislikes and habits, how they interacted with their friends. Everything they did was under a microscope; it mattered because the health and well-being of my kids mattered. And I learned that observation was the first step in helping them to do and be their very best. We learn through observation. We assess. We reason and draw conclusions. Then we go to work tweaking when and where necessary so that our kids can have fuller, richer, healthier and happier lives.

What I’m observing in this new, weird reality of COVID-19 and all of its annoying consequences, is how much more health-conscious we’ve all become. And not just an awareness of our kids health, but our own health as well. That’s a good thing. I’m observing that the neighborhood has a new energy to it. I see families taking walks together. I see parents and kids riding their bikes together. I see grown folks jogging alone or jogging in small groups. I’m not used to seeing that in my hood. Well, let me rephrase that. It’s rare to see this much physical activity in my community, especially at this time of the year. And I have to say, families, good for you! Keep it moving and keep up the good work! I’m also noticing the efforts to change eating habits; what we are eating- moving towards a healthier eating lifestyle. And yet, we struggle with overeating and eating junk while we are sheltering-in-place because the stress of it all propels us to indulge in comfort foods. It’s ok, we have a lot going on right now. Mama said there would be days like this… We fall down and we get back up! That’s the lesson we teach our children, right?

As parents, we’re not the only ones observing. Our kids are observing us too. Especially right now. Our kids are observing how we’re handling the new set of rules we’ve been handed around “Camp COVID-19.” They’re observing our energy and how we’re using it. Are we crumbling under the stress and blowing up at them? Or are we taking a deep breath and deciding to get rid of the stress by taking a family walk in our neighborhood and taking notice of what’s beautiful in our community? Energy and how we use it, impacts our physical and mental health. While we’re focusing on eating right and exercising with regularity, let us also be mindful of the energy we bring to both of these challenges.

What I know for sure is that parenting is a constant; it doesn’t matter how old our kids get, we are always, constantly parenting- it just looks different as they mature into adulthood. As parents, we are modeling the behavior we want to see in our children. We want healthy kids, healthy families. We model what that looks like. COVID-19 will try to destroy our health and our dreams of a healthy, thriving family, but we won’t let him because we’re serious about loving on our family and making sure that we’re healthy, thriving and intact. I know because I’m an observant person. I see you, and you’re doing GREAT!

Written by Dena Chapman

Dena Chapman is a writer, editor and seasoned blogger on a mission to be a voice of strength and tranquility in an otherwise noisy world. When she is not tinkering with words, she can be found busting a ballet move in her home work office. Dena is the proud mother of two young adults, Joshua and Malachi- and her dog, Thor. Contact Dena at msdena01@gmail.com.