To many people, the back to school season signals a new beginning – arguably as much as a new calendar year. Typically, retailers ramp up their sales of clothing, school supplies, dorm essentials and inspiration for office makeovers. Sports clubs and arts organizations put their marketing on full blast to let parents know it’s time to register their school-aged children. Bigger kids dream of the possibilities and new adventures that await, and even adults can’t help but think of ways they might improve their lives.
This year, however, is different. With physical distancing still in place, many families spent the summer of 2020 closer to home; people with the option of telecommuting have been doing so, and kids, away from the school setting since mid-March, likely had quite a different summer than they were used to, far from the usual hubbub of camps and visits with friends. At press time, Ottawa parents still weren’t sure what school – if they chose to send their children back at all – would look like, causing feelings of stress. Still, there is no denying the season, which is coming whether we are ready or not, carries with it optimism and hope, its crisp air suggesting a fresh chapter. In this edition of Parenting Times, we celebrate with stories of renewal, rebirth and a new start.
We’ve caught up with Ottawa’s Gill family, whose patriarch, Ottawa police officer Terrence Gill, received a kidney from mother of two Maria Perez – who was a stranger at the time – in a lifesaving surgery. Following Terrence’s new lease on life, the two families formed a close friendship, and share their story in hopes of raising awareness of organ donation.
Next, Sheryl Bennett-Wilson talks to our city’s older generation about how COVID-19 has changed the way they live. Read this story to be inspired by how they have adapted to our new society.
The pandemic has also changed how our kids are learning. We are all spending more time online, and with that in mind, we’ve interviewed three experts about how to keep kids safe as they navigate cyberspace. More learning is happening at home, and first-time contributor Nick Arnold has two great kids’ science experiments you can conduct in your kitchen.
Speaking of kitchen, we’ve got some great recipes for the foodies out there! Staying safe often means doing more cooking at home. Try out Tobi Amidor’s recipes, which will inspire you to examine your eating habits and make positive dietary changes, in our Healthy Living section. Of course, nothing does the body as much good as hydration, and plenty of it. Bryan Sarlitt writes about how you can get your kids to adopt the healthy habit of drinking more water.
Even when everything’s far from normal, it’s possible to embrace your life and make the most of it. From our publishing family to your precious ones at home, have a safe and happy fall, and remember to be gentle with yourselves.