Many seasons ago, when today’s mango trees were mango saplings and the Panthers were an expansion team, I studied journalism at a state university in the Midwest. Rather than simply having a student paper, my alma mater’s journalism school publishes the daily morning newspaper for its small city.
It was an odd hybrid – part college classroom, part working daily paper – and it showed. Some days, there were flashes of young journalistic brilliance. Some days, there was the kind of chaos that can only happen when you let a bunch of college students write a daily newspaper.
Overseeing all this was a professor/editor-in-chief from the ink-stained old school. He was the textbook gruff-but-caring newspaper editor. When he told you how you screwed up, you remembered; when he told you that you did a great job, you remembered that too.
He had a few sayings and turns of phrase, one of which he deployed a lot when describing a good day at a newspaper written by 19-to-22-year-olds. It was, he would say, pretty good for what it is.
Lately we’ve all been experiencing plenty of things that are pretty good for what they are.
I wrote the story in this month’s issue about education – all the things students, teachers, parents and caregivers have had to figure out in recent weeks and months. These are tricky times for monthly magazines; as I write in the story, by the time you pick up this issue, the way Broward schoolchildren are currently being educated may have changed. But as I write this, all Broward public school students and most private school students are learning remotely. That means some parents have had to find other places for them to be during the day. Other parents and caregivers have looked for other educational options. Most people with a child at home, myself included, spend some time worrying about what we’re doing, or not doing.
My favorite quote in the story comes from Andrea Woodburn, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker who also teaches mindfulness and yoga. She also spent more than 30 years working in Broward public schools and has seen plenty. She offered lots of great advice regarding what to do and look for with kids, and she also offered this advice to parents and caregivers: go easy on yourselves.
“You’re doing the best you can under the circumstances,” she says in the story. “Honor that. Don’t beat yourself up.”
Personally, I’ve been happy for my daughter to start fourth grade virtually. I want her to learn science, but I also want her school and others to follow the science. And anyway, I think she’s doing well. It’s not a perfect situation, but her teachers and others are working hard to make it good. And that’s enough.
I am the parent of a Broward Schools student; the education she is receiving right now is not perfect. But it’s pretty good for what it is.