It’s funny. The last post I wrote before this new normal was entitled, “Bad Feeling,” yet it had nothing to do with the virus’s inevitable collision course with what used to be our everyday lives. Maybe I’m psychic. Maybe it’s Maybelline. 

In any case, it’s been a cool six weeks since I’ve written anything of value. Caught between trying to do everything I can for our families, working with my own children, and convincing myself that I am doing neither, I swapped out blogging for daily video reflections

And then I rediscovered “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Though I could probably recite the fairy tale by heart, I couldn’t help but apply it to our current controlled chaos. Moreover, the story, though so simple, has inspired parallels in everything from business to statistics to developmental psychology. The Goldilocks Principle, The Goldilocks Fit, and The Goldilocks Effect all borrow from the fairy tale to make sense of that which needs explanation. 

In education, even in the most certain, stable, and safe of times, the analogy fits as neatly as Goldilocks herself fits into Baby Bear’s chair. We consider all the ways in which we can help children, find the best fit for each, and then apply that fit. If something is too easy or too hard, we do our best to make it just right. Sometimes we do, sometimes the chair breaks right out from under us. 

So we try again. 

What we most often forget or refuse to consider is the Bear Family itself. On an otherwise normal day, their lives are disrupted by an uninvited guest whose only motivation is what fits her perfectly. Forget the overt invasion of the Bears’ home and routine. Forget the unsanitary way in which Goldilocks eats from each bowl of porridge. Forget the broken chair she leaves in her wake as she tests out each bed before settling in Baby Bear’s. 

What about the Bears? 

Our families, like the Bears, are trying to establish their own new normal after an uninvited guest shows up. Parents are forced to allow us into their homes through Zoom, Meet, Dojo, or worksheet, and then are forced to adapt to us rather than us to them, a model that is centuries old. For some, what we ask for is too easy; for others, what we ask for is too hard. But getting it “just right?” Well, that’s a fairy tale. 

The reason we need to align ourselves with the Bears, not that malignant narcissist Goldilocks, is it’s the Bears who have to keep on keepin’ on (or whatever it is that bears do) regardless of what Goldilocks did to disrupt them. Once she’s gone, new porridge has to be made, the spoons need to be cleaned, the broken chair needs to be replaced, and each bed’s sheets need to be washed. 

Friends: we have to resist becoming Goldilocks.

There are far too many bears in far too many forests (with far too many human-like qualities) to think that we, like Goldilocks, are superior.  

Be more Bear. 

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