Right now, most of us are stuck with what you might call dead time. We’re trapped indoors. We’re working from home… or not at all. Kids are out of school, and who knows when it will be back in. We’re in the snow day of all snow days, except we can’t go outside and take advantage of the time off because the snow might make us all sick.
The situation is both familiar (life has been interrupted) and completely alien (has the world ever shut down like this?). And you can’t help any of it. This wasn’t your fault. It’s a lot to manage and there’s a lot to worry about. Still, we should remember what the Stoics say (and what we’ve said to our kids many times): We don’t control the things that happen, but we do control how we respond.
So the project for you to focus on today is how you and your kids can turn this dead time into what Robert Greene calls “alive time.” And make no mistake, there is so much to choose from in bringing this time back from the dead:
You can write letters together to their grandparents or an old folks home or to first responders.
You can create a competition to see who can read the most books over the next month.
You can get them to watch college lectures from Yale or instructional YouTube videos.
You can work on stuff around the house.
You can connect with each other and grow as a family.
You can find ways to help less fortunate people in your community.
However long this goes on, wherever this ends up—that part is unknown. What is real is this moment we have right now. What we can’t take for granted is today. So think about how you’re going to use this time, think about what you guys can do right now, so that you look back on this experience as a formative one—one that, in the end, you’d choose never to trade away.