I am strong with Erasmus+
As people say, there is no bad that would not turn (eventually) into good. Many have dreamed out loud about working from home, about being at home with their family, about sleeping longer or about drinking a warm cup of coffee in the living room…. the list may go on. Probably, most of us will dream more cautiously, next time. Because, when millions of people dream about the same thing, sometimes, that thing might become true. But we are humans, after all. Once we fulfilled our dreams, we want something different and instead of enjoying the time spent in our homes (where, in spite of everything, we are safe), we quickly start to miss how things used to be, desiring to go back to our old routine. We are all different, but also the same. We all have the same thoughts, feelings, emotions... This is what our Erasmus+ project “Socio-Emotional Capacity Building in Primary Education - PSsmile” it is about sending a post scriptum message to everyone, so that all of us could learn how to smile and how to take our lifes as they are and even improve them, accept ourselves, learn to recognize and manage our emotions, our feelings and to communicate and better understand each other. You can find more (but, unfortunately, not everything as our project is still in the development phase) at the following link: http://smile.emundus.lt/
And how did we succeed in that long and terrible quarantine? What did we learn and how did we move with our project?
At first, as for many others, there was an adaptation period. Change is always difficult. In our unconscious mind, it is encrypted that change is unsafe. New situations bring progressive anxiety, fear of what might happen, and fear of how everything might turn out, afterwards. Having to face uncomfortable events, we might suddenly begin longing the old times, when everything was predictable and safe. This is how we are! We always look for the easiest solutions. However, there are times during which it is more appropriate to get out of our comfort zone, out of our safe boxes. Not alone, but all together. In this difficult time, we have seen the whole world spending a lot of time to acquire new ICT skills, new competencies, and that is just for the best! Probably, we would have never achieved the level of IT literacy we have achieved in the last two months! Finding ourselves in a safe state of shock, we have learnt and mastered everything very quickly. We have learnt how to use many new tools, we have read lots of new articles, started communicating with a lot of new people, and many other things.
The adaptation period did not last very long. We realized very soon that we needed to move on and act. If we had postponed the deadlines, it would not have been any better, as we would have needed more time to carry out our activities. Thus, we decided to follow the rule “less time –more time”. Indeed, everyone was very busy at that time: university partners had to re-orient their work and start doing it from remote; those partners who were organizing dozens of events needed to understand the new trend and re-organize themselves. It was hard, but we came all together, in the end. We met each other in a videoconference and shared how we were living. It was very constructive, as we also started to look for solutions to move forward. Obviously, it was very good to see each other, and in that difficult global situation, similar concerns and new challenges had brought us closer together. From that day onwards, we spent several time (weekly or once in two weeks) for meeting online, sharing interesting articles, ideas, lectures and other materials, planning and implementing project’s activities in a very consistent way, with even greater quality and inspiration. We worked intensively and with joy, dividing ourselves into groups and splitting activities in pairs of activities, so that we did not have to work alone. We felt even more responsibility towards each other, as we always had someone to consult with online. We communicated a lot, shared many thoughts, advices, we often showed what we were doing, and this helped us overcome that difficult moment, avoiding us to fall into an emotional crisis. We became like a big family!
When people are separated by distance, (and this affects not only us and our foreign partners, but also people within countries and cities) socio-emotional survival moves to the foreground; mental and emotional states become more and more relevant. Thus, communication in any form (videoconference, phone, etc…) becomes essential for our mental health. And there was also a room for improvement! We learned to listen more to each other, to look more often at how we feel, to help each other, to manage our emotions and help others manage their own, to speak one by one, to thank, to understand ourselves and one another, to sympathize with and many other positive and beautiful skills and emotions. We bloomed with feelings, just like flowers!
So, let's not forget to smile every day and a few or a dozen times more at ourselves and those around, and the world will turn to brighter colors.