COVID-19 Provided Many Challenges for Seventh Grader

covid-19

By Vanessa De La Paz

COVID-19 has impacted many lives and made everyone go through tough and struggling times.

When we were all living through the pandemic it was a very scary and panicking time which made our lives difficult.

In the beginning when we got sent home due to COVID, I was in 7th grade, and classmates including myself were looking forward to it because we all thought “yay! No more school,” but after a while of being stuck at home it was becoming very depressing because I would be around the same people and relive the same day doing nothing.

Also, not being able to see my family was another thing that affected my life during this time because before we would always have family gatherings and when this pandemic occurred it made it a struggle being away from family and becoming distant.

Not only did COVID and the pandemic impact my personal life, but it also impacted my learning experiences.

School days during COVID were troubling times because learning online was difficult to get used to, hard to navigate and learn from.

Some people like me were not strong visual learners and needed to be in person which was a setback for students learning environment.

In the beginning when we got sent home due to COVID, I was in 7th grade, and classmates including myself were looking forward to it because we all thought “yay! No more school,” but after a while of being stuck at home it was becoming very
DEPRESSING…

Once we had the option to be at home or in person it made it a bit easier, but the masks were another challenge to get used to during this time because to wear a mask for about 7-8 hours every week was not easy and certainly hard to breath and talk through; but it was all for our safety.

The pandemic was a life changing event. This pandemic was certainly not an easy thing to get through.

During the pandemic I tried to make the most out of it and make it fun because the pandemic allowed us to have so much free time that gave me time to focus on myself, come to realizations, and spend quality time with family.

These things, especially family, helped me get through the pandemic because I was not alone in this and had people to be isolated with instead of being on my own.

In conclusion, COVID and the pandemic had a significant impact on my personal life.

As a student it most certainly affected my educational life but I learned a lot and am still learning from the experience.

Vanessa De La Paz is a student at Wright Lassiter Academy where she is a dual credit student who will graduate with her high school diploma and her Associates Degree from Dallas College.

Just Say No to the VACCINE

Camarion Johnson

By Camarion Johnson

Camarion Johnson
Camarion Johnson

Lives were changed during the year 2020 when COVID-19 officially started being a concern in the United States.

My life was changed on March 13, 2020; little did I know that that day would be my last day as a regular student.

I had never experienced a pandemic. I was still in middle school when the country had to go through being quarantined, and it was towards the middle of my eighth-grade year.

That year I changed a lot because I became more confident in myself and a sort of social butterfly, but everything changed after COVID.

Pre-pandemic I was doing really well with my grades and I was not afraid to speak in front of other people or to be who I was.

I was so social to the point where I would help a lot of people around my school when volunteers were needed and I was proud to talk and I was not shy at all.

When online learning began no one I knew had any idea how to navigate through it and that made learning really difficult.

There was also lots of awkwardness because it was the first time everyone saw each other through technology.

There were endless problems with the technology, the internet, and the means of communication; so in the end the pandemic took away my last months of being a middle schooler before transitioning to high school.

I personally, to this day really hate the way things went because my eighth grade year was supposed to be a great one and the way things were going I also believed I would have been really happy with my academic life.

The few months that I did spend doing online classes for my eighth grade year were nothing compared to how overwhelming the next months would be due to the fact that I had to figure out what school I would be attending for high school all through phone calls and emails that would usually not be answered.

The virus and pandemic both also took quite a negative toll on my mental health because I was not used to staying at home with my four siblings. I felt as if I had no room to breath at times and felt trapped.

I also began to overthink a lot and began to make myself panic by making my mind believe that I was isolated and that I would never be able to live a normal life again or the life I did before everything happened.

Even though there were a lot of negatives to the pandemic, some of the good things that came out of it were that I learned how to use technology better and learned that some relationships that I had were actually just acquaintances and nothing more.

In the end, I believe that COVID is something that affected every individual in one way or another.

We as a nation learned to slowly overcome it and now we should do anything and everything possible to not be in that position again,.

But if we were to go back, this time we would not be as lost as we were during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Nathaly Vazquez is a 16-year-old junior enrolled at Lassiter Early College. The oldest of five she has a goal to be successful and help her mom out in the future.

Why Teenagers Should Get Vaccinated

Jennifer Igbonoba
counterpoint_Camarion

By Jennifer Igbonoba

Vaccines and kids.

Jennifer Igbonoba
Jennifer Igbonoba

Two words that when mixed together can cause mass hysteria.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise, it is time to turn our attention to the younger citizens of our society. It is time to explain to teenagers why they should take the vaccine.

The first, and by far most obvious reason for taking the vaccine, is to slow the spread of the virus. Before vaccines were widely available to the American public, masks were used as a way to slow the spread due to COVID-19 being an airborne virus.
Now, with mask requirements being more lenient in Texas, vaccines serve as the tool to slow the spread of the virus and its more contagious variants; the most common one right now being the B.1.617.2 (Delta).

Historically speaking, the widespread use of vaccinations for a particular disease can significantly lower its transmission and, in the case of smallpox, eradicate it, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The second reason teens should get vaccinated is to protect those who are unvaccinated. At this stage in the pandemic and vaccine layout, it is easy to dismiss those who are unvaccinated as anti-vaxxing conspiracy theorists.
However, that is not always the case.

vaccination card

Currently in Texas, children under the age of 12 are not authorized to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which places them more at risk to contract the Delta variant.

Also, while not unauthorized to get the vaccine, people with less common underlying conditions like those allergic to certain ingredients in the mRNA vaccines may not be able to take the vaccine because the side effects could worsen their condition. In order to protect those who are medically not able to get vaccinated, widespread vaccination among those who can is important.

Finally, you must protect yourself.

When I talk to my peers, most tell me that because they have a lower chance of dying from the virus, they should not worry about or get the vaccine.

Despite that belief having a factual basis, according to reports from the CDC it does not put into context the long term effects of the virus.

While young teens are less likely to die from the virus compared to older adults, they are also just as likely to be asymptomatic and unaware they have the viral particles in their immune system.

The strain the virus puts on the immune system distracts it from defending the body against other minor illnesses which can cause those small illnesses to have a greater effect on the body than they usually do.

Throughout this pandemic, we have all missed out on typical American milestone events; like proms, graduations, birthday parties, and all the events we’ve been looking forward to pre-pandemic.

Now, we finally have a chance to return to a somewhat normal life by being safe and protecting those around us.

Together, we can all slowly limit the spread and potentially eradicate the virus, by simply getting vaccinated.

Jennifer Igbonoba is a senior at Rockwall High School in Rockwall, Texas and she is a Scripps Howard Foundation Emerging Journalists Intern with Texas Metro News.

Brewing Within Episode 4: ‘Watch a different approach to a challenging aftermath’ in three parts

Watch or listen to all three parts of episode four featuring a California administrator, parent and coach as each expresses the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic

By ONME News

Administrator Tracey E. Jenkins of Tulare City School District explains what happened to them during the pandemic, and how they are succeeding through the aftermath

In “Brewing Within” episode 4, it explains in three parts the challenges that California administrators, parents and teachers went through during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tulare County, named for Tulare Lake because it was once the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes; the lake since then has been drained for agricultural development, and is now in Kings County, which was created in 1893 from the western portion of the formerly larger Tulare County.

The predominant rural community, according to PolicyLink’s 2013 study “California Unincorporated: Mapping Disadvantaged Communities in the San Joaquin Valley,” found that over 300,000 people live in small, unincorporated communities spread across rural valleys where California’s agricultural wealth is produced.

According to a Visalia Times Delta times article, the farm-worker communities in Tulare County were particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 when the pandemic started at a much greater rate than people living in urban areas. By August 2020 Tulare County’s COVID-19 infection rate (1.96% of the population infected) was much greater, per capita, than that of large cities like San Francisco or Sacramento. The news article also stated that a study by Kissam in September 2020 showed that COVID-19 cases in 25 farm-worker communities overall were about 2.5 times higher than the state average.

Also due to the high cost of living in California and the extreme poverty (averages around 19%) in Tulare County, many people of color live together in nuclear or extended families and friends to save money on rent or house mortgages–this easily added to the spread of the coronavirus among such communities in Tulare County.

In episode 4 part 1, ONME News, Julia Dudley Najieb has a candid, one-on-one interview with Tulare City School District principal, Mr. Tracey E. Jenkins about the disruptive COVID-19 experience his school district had to manage before and after–they are still succeeding against all odds. 

Central Valley parent Kimberly Belmontez-McKinney reflects on key things noticed changed during the COVID-19 pandemic; one thing was the grocery bill

In episode 4 part 2, ONME News, Dudley Najieb talks with Central Valley parent and foster parent, Kimberly Belmontez-McKinney who expresses the challenges she went through during the COVID-19 pandemic while trying to manage eight children in her household. The children ranged from elementary school to high school; she witnessed the social behavioral changes from the beginning of the pandemic to the aftermath, which she is managing to this day.

Central Valley coach, Todd Henderson, explains how the COVID-19 pandemic was an accidental beneficial experience for some of his athletes

In episode 4 part 3, ONME News, Dudley Najieb talks with Central Valley coach and teacher, Todd Henderson, who reveals a different perspective of some of the positive outcomes for his athletes that happened during the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.He acknowledges the struggles he had as a teacher during that time, but he expresses his level of optimism for student athletes who got an extra year of playing time or field time; however, this situation was not so good for his seniors, who missed this opportunity when the state of California shutdown in 2020.

Brewing Within Episode 3: ‘What sound hope looks like to one California administrator’ post COVID-19

Central Valley students of color are safe in the hands of this administrator

By ONME News

In “Brewing Within” episode 3, ONME News, Julia Dudley Najieb has a candid, one-on-one interview with California, Washington Union High School administrator, Dennis Randle, M.Ed., who is the learning director, about the actual COVID-19 experience from the school’s perspective.  He addresses the unforeseen issues students, teachers and staff were up against before, during and after the pandemic.

Washington Union High School is a high school in the rural community of Easton in Fresno County, California. Founded in 1892, Washington Union is one of the oldest high schools in Fresno County. The school district encompasses roughly 90 square miles in the heart of the central San Joaquin Valley.

Central California impoverished city, Easton, has a poverty rate that fluctuates from 15.3% or higher, according to Healthy Fresno County. The diverse population also has a large rural population who work heavily in the agricultural industry. Randle confirmed that there are still rough roads ahead, as some students had challenges not being able to complete their credits in a year due to the lack of internet resources.

Students of color in the Central Valley continue to suffer disproportionately to other students; the pandemic exacerbated problems that already existed among these student groups, who resemble others across the state.

The California Department of Education (CDE) released student performance data at the beginning of the year that provide baseline indicators of how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted schools and students.The 2020–21 data affirm both the challenges created by the pandemic.

“Our road ahead is clear—we must continue to focus our energy and resources in supporting our students, families, and educators so they not only recover from the impacts of COVID-19 but thrive in days ahead,” said State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond. “This must remain our top priority. I am grateful to the Legislature and Governor Newsom for last year’s historic education package (PDF) that provides a record-high level of funding to help transform our system to one dedicated to addressing all the impacts of COVID-19 on our students—academic, behavioral, social-emotional and physical.”

Governor Gavin Newsom made a historic investments in student learning, health, and well-being this past summer: The $123.9 billion education package signed by Governor Newsom in July provides the highest level of K–12 funding in history, including the expansion of after-school and summer programs to accelerate learning and the creation of full-service community schools to address student mental health and wellness needs.

To help schools accelerate learning during the 2020–21 year, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 86 on March 5, 2021, which provided $4.6 billion (of $6.6 billion in total funding) to expanding student supports. Schools used those early funds to expand educational opportunities for the summer and the following school year.

According to summer data released by the State of California Safe Schools for All Hub, 89 percent of school districts reporting offered new learning opportunities over the summer, including learning acceleration (e.g., high-dose tutoring), enrichment, and mental health services.

“The statewide performance data from last year confirm what we heard from school districts and county offices throughout the year,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond. “Namely, the challenges that students and educators faced during the pandemic were multi-dimensional and disruptive to learning and mental health. Our goal now is to move all students forward. We are thankful for the historic investments in education, and I am putting forward a bold agenda to address long-standing inequities that have caused disproportionate learning gaps for students of color and other student groups in California with a plan to transform California schools.”

Watch ‘Brewing Within’ Episode 2: ‘There’s an approaching student mandate deadline’ in California

Student vaccine mandates continue to be a debate in post-COVID-19 discussions

By ONME News

In the almost 40-minute episode 2 of the “Brewing Within” series (partially funded by NABJ Black Press Grant) ONME News publisher, Julia Dudley Najieb, narrates and navigates through the student vaccine mandate that was happening/did happen (or is still happening?) Of course, this issue continues to be a debate to this date; but Dudley Najieb navigates through the legalese and political stances.

Thereafter, Dudley Najieb features key expert, Dr. Naomi Bardach, who was part of a team that was behind the scene of the impact of COVID-19 on California schools, and figuring out how to reopen them as soon as possible. Dr. Bardach also talks about her personal experience with her son who suffered depression and anxiety during the shutdown in California.

Dr. Naomi Bardach is a Professor of Pediatrics and Policy in the Department of Pediatrics and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California San Francisco.

These video excerpts come from UCTV 70-min. program, “Is There an Off-Ramp for That? K-12 Schools and COVID-19”, where Dr. Bardach discussed the impact the pandemic had on children, educators and families and the measures schools employed to keep students and teachers safe while continuing to educate children. She explained what the research found and best practices for moving forward.

Dr. Naomi Bardach is a Professor of Pediatrics and Policy in the Department of Pediatrics and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California San Francisco. She is Vice Chair of Health Services Research in the Department of Pediatrics. Her research program is focused on improving the quality of inpatient and outpatient pediatric care, with a foundation in implementation and dissemination science. She is co-investigator on two of the AHRQ-funded U18 Pediatric Quality Measurement Program (PQMP) grants to support development and testing of pediatric quality measures.

In the next chapter, Dudley Najieb explores the pre-post stats of students of color suffering depression, anxiety and other traumatic mental health issues: The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention surveyed more than 7,000 high school students before the pandemic and found that 55.1% suffered emotional abuse, 44.2% reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, 9% attempted suicide.

Medical experts from an Ethnic Media Services briefing reveal and explain the data and real-life experience concerning the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health of children, parents and the like. Each of them expand on the data concerning ethnic students, and the daily discrimination these students were going through prior to the pandemic.

Medical experts explain the dire aftermath students of color are still facing today

Angela Vásquez, MSW, is the Policy Director for Mental Health at The Children’s Partnership. Angela received her Masters Degree with Honors in Social Work in Community Organizing, Planning, and Administration from the University of Southern California after graduating cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a BA in Psychology. She also serves on the Board of Trustees at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena.

Vasquez talks about what young people are experiencing before and after the pandemic and the key factors. She said this was a crisis building before the pandemic. She shares the data of these findings.

Dr. Ilan Shapiro a pediatrician and the current Chief Medical Affairs Officer of AltaMed in Los Angeles. He joined AltaMed in 2016 as the Medical Director of Health Education and Wellness. Most recently, Dr. Shapiro has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as a leading source of education and information and a trusted media resource on both national and international news outlets, including CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, and Univision.

Dr. Shapiro talks about the physical stress and ailments that translated to COVID-19 related incidents during the pandemic. He shares the story of a child patient.

Dr. Sydney McKinney, Ph.D, is the Executive Director of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She previously worked at HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services and the Vera Institute of Justice. She graduated from New York University with a PhD in Sociology and a MA in Law and Society, and from Columbia University in the City of New York with a MPH in Sociomedical Sciences.

Dr. talks about the dire stress that Black girls went through pre and are going through post pandemic, which is a considerable amount of violence and racial discrimination. There goal is to prevent Black girls from going into the juvenile criminal justice system.

Dr. Myo Thwin Myint is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Pediatrics at Tulane University School of Medicine. He is interested in medical education, LGBTQ health, and advocacy. He serves on the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Training and Education Committee and co-leads the AACAP Alliance for Learning and Innovation (AALI). His clinical work includes working with sexual and gender minorities, and supervising fellows, residents, and medical students in various clinical settings.

Dr. Mint declared we are in a crisis regarding our children’s mental health needs, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.He discusses options to outreach to children in the community and getting more professionals into the field of child psychology.

Brewing Within Episode 1: Where COVID-19 began in California

ONME News narrates the story of the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic aftermath on K-12 ethnic students

By ONME News

In the post-pandemic era, where people are learning to live with the different COVID-19 variants, and surges still persist in California this winter season, the aftermath of the coronavirus has proven to be more deadly economically for business, people of color, and especially California’s struggling, public school system. ONME News tells this story in a five-part docuseries called, “Brewing Within.”

The Brewing Within series is partially funded by the National Association of Black Journalist – NABJ Black Press Grant; ONME News was chosen as one of the grantees to help reveal the K-12 experience in the state of California in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The series reveals the struggles that teachers, administrators, and parents went through trying to navigate through the school system during and after the state of California March 2020 shut down. It also reveals the damage done to students, especially students of color and/or impoverished students, although the state fully reopened June 15, 2021.

About Episode 1 of Brewing Within

The almost nine-minute episode 1 of “Brewing Within” tells the dramatic story of the state of California as it enters the pandemic, as well as the aftermath. From fear to lack of information to misinformation, approximately 39 million residents did not know they were about to be impacted by a novel virus in one way or another.

Narrated by ONME News publisher, Julia Dudley Najieb, this initial episode brings the audience into the story of what was happening with California schools, K-12 as the pandemic ravaged the state of California.

In 2019, schools were doing business as usual; until the first case of a person testing positive for COVID-19, Jan. 25, 2020 in Orange County became breaking news, being the third case nationwide, the concern level hit everyone’s radar. The person had traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the infectious disease outbreak and came back to California according to the Orange County health dept. Cases continued to rise thereafter. California hung in the rafters trying to stay afloat above the coronavirus that was inflicting residents throughout the state.

In April, CalMatters reported on the significant drop of student enrollment in the California public school system; this is a first time since the start of this century. The California Department of Education announced that student enrollment continues to drop at faster rates than before the pandemic.

For the better part of a decade, public school enrollment was in steady decline in California mostly due to a lack of affordable housing, education officials across the state said. When the pandemic reached California, early job losses collided with that trend, making the decline worse.

How COVID impacted my life and education as a student

How COVID impacted my life and education as a student

BY NATHALY VAZQUEZ

Lives were changed during the year 2020 when COVID-19 officially started being a concern in the United States.

My life was changed on March 13, 2020; little did I know that that day would be my last day as a regular student.

I had never experienced a pandemic. I was still in middle school when the country had to go through being quarantined, and it was towards the middle of my eighth -grade year.

That year I changed a lot because I became more confident in myself and a sort of social butterfly, but everything changed after COVID.

Pre-pandemic I was doing really well with my grades and I was not afraid to speak in front of other people or to be who I was.

I was so social to the point where I would help a lot of people around my school when volunteers were needed and I was proud to talk and I was not shy at all.

When online learning began no one I knew had any idea how to navigate through it and that made learning really difficult.

There were also lots of awkwardness because it was the first time everyone saw each other through technology.

There were endless problems with the technology, the internet, and the means of communication; so in the end the pandemic took away my last months of being a middle schooler before transitioning to high school.

I personally, to this day really hate the way things went because my eighth grade year was supposed to be a great one and the way things were going I also believed I would have been really happy with my academic life.

The few months that I did spend doing online classes for my eighth grade year were nothing compared to how overwhelming the next months would be due to the fact that I had to figure out what school I would be attending for high school all through phone calls and emails that would usually not be answered.

The virus and pandemic both also took quite a negative toll on my mental health because I was not used to staying at home with my four siblings. I felt as if I had no room to breath at times and felt trapped.

I also began to overthink a lot and began to make myself panic by making my mind believe that I was isolated and that I would never be able to live a normal life again or the life I did before everything happened.

Even though there were a lot of negatives to the pandemic, some of the good things that came out of it were that I learned how to use technology better and learned that some relationships that I had were actually just acquaintances and nothing more.

In the end, I believe that COVID is something that affected every individual in one way or another.

We as a nation learned to slowly overcome it and now we should do anything and everything possible to not be in that position again, but if we were to go back, this time we would not be as lost as we were during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Nathaly Vazquez is a 16-year-old junior enrolled at Lassiter Early College. The oldest of five she has a goal to be successful and help her mom out in the future as much as she has helped her all her life.

COVID-19 Was Life-Altering for One High Schooler

Covid -19

BY ABDUL IBRAHIM

Since COVID-19 first started everything has been downhill for me because I could barely go out and meet my friends and people that I have known for years.

I was hoping to have a great school year but everything changed when school had to close due to COVID-19. Ever since then everything in school has changed completely, such as all the students have to sit one row apart from each other and all students must wear mask at all time for safety.

When I had to do online classes, it was very hard because I couldn’t ask questions that I would have asked in person such as, “is it okay for you to show me how to solve this problem?’’

It was hard for the teacher to show me how to solve the work problem so instead he would tell me to go to the school website and watch the three-minute videos.

It was also very hard to stay at home for online classes because sometimes your internet will go off or we were having bad Wi-Fi.

Also some do not even have a laptop so they have to work from phone. Some people I know have bad laptops which is hard to work with. Some of the things I have experienced with online classes is that I have to find a quiet and peaceful place rather than getting interrupted by family or siblings; especially if your siblings are between four months and five-years-old.

When school reopened there wasn’t a pep rally or event that we usually have in school.

It was very sad that everyone in school has to wear a mask and sometimes I couldn’t recognize some of my friends because everyone has changed.

Not all students show up to school. Only a few students show up to school most of the time. Many students will not be participating in any of the school events because they are scared they might get COVID-19.

Unfortunately 2020 and 2021 there were canceled soccer and Karate tournaments that I have trained for since 2019 to win my second Dallas Karate Championship and win my three Gold Summer League Soccer Championships.

This past summer I have focused on myself and loving myself. COVID-19 has changed everything in my life to downhill.

I have to admit it. Even though COVID-19 has destroyed everything I love, COVID-19 has also brought me and my family closer together. We went from hardly seeing each other to seeing each every day, doing family fun things at home such as playing board games, watching movies and helping each other around the house.

While we were in school, even though it was online, I still passed my grade because I would have to go school and talk to the teacher one-on-one while wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer.

Now I have a chance to talk to my teachers and get my grades up.

For these and many reasons, I hate and love COVID-19.

Abdul Ibrahim is now a student at Dallas College, Dallas, TX.

Lamenting is Necessary for Preservation

Necessary for Preservation
Necessary for Preservation

That week was unprecedented. If you weren’t directly impacted by the lack of electricity in your homes, you probably had relatives and friends over. If that wasn’t your scenario, you witnessed or heard stories of despair and hopelessness through the consistent coverage in the news and social media.

It was a lot to experience and process. My irritation goes beyond the experience. I am frustrated to see how so many of us went back to work Monday morning as if nothing happened and we continue to stay on the hamster wheel of non-stop motion—never taking the time to pause or even stop.

There were limited conversations or check-ins, just work as usual because we have fallen into the trap that profit and productivity rule over people.

In addition to last week’s debacle, over 500,000 people have died from COVID or COVID related complications.

So many family members and friends have experienced loss. The institutional knowledge as well as the potential that we will never realize and know is now gone.

And yet, we continue to move on without taking the time to stop and realize the devastation of this unseen enemy that is taking a toll on life as we know it.

Our lives have radically changed. For many of us, we have been in our homes since March 2020 with limited human contact that is usually restricted to immediate family.

Hugs and opportunities to experience the presence of others is almost non-existent except for Zoom calls and Grocery store runs. Dallas Morning News (February 4, 2021) headlines read, “With 1 of every 5 high schoolers not attending classes with regularity, Dallas ISD launches reconnection effort.”

As much as we tell ourselves that our children are resilient, obviously, they are not adjusting well, either. We keep running, moving faster as if it will suddenly go away and things will go back to normal.

In our quest, to keep up this busyness and desire to move forward, we are neglecting to pause, stop, and lament.

It’s interesting that in grammar, the comma represents a pause, and the period is designed to stop before moving to another thought.

Why is it that we understand that in language but have failed to see the correlation in our lives? Right now, we need to really sit back, reflect, and listen.

God is speaking and we are missing it big time by covering it up with more stuff to do that has yet to alleviate our pain and suffering. The book of Lamentations is credited to Jeremiah.

It is a Biblical book of poems that illustrate the pain of a people whose city had been destroyed and who had lost many loved ones.

It is a book that ponders on the suffering of man caused by the decisions and actions of men. The city of Babylon had been invaded and destroyed.

There was a need for food and people were desperate. Lamentations 3:17-26 states, “Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. 20 I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. 21 Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: 22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. 26 So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”

Maybe it is time for us to pause, stop, cry, reflect and wait quietly to hear from God. Our very lives depend upon it.

Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the R2 Foundation. She is the author of four books and the host of the Tapestry Podcast.

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