Musings from the School Counsellor

Finding Calm

Change brings stress.  Even change that is considered positive can bring with it stress.  As we have all experienced over the last several weeks change has been daily and in some cases it has been hourly.  This week, in the school system, we experienced another significant change with the opening of schools.  In my last blog post I talked about how you are the parent and here again that theme rings out.  Many of you have made a decision to send your children or keep them home without any difficulty.  Yet for others, you have really struggled trying to make the “right” decision for your family.  From my perspective there is no blanket “right” answer – and with that, there is no blanket “wrong” answer.

Over the past several weeks we have gotten to know British Columbia’s top doctor – Dr. Bonnie Henry.  Many have asked me what I think about her.  My answer usually involves something like the following, “I really like her and I think she is very good at her job.  Even if she isn’t good at her job the sense of “calm” that she brings when she speaks is so valuable.”   I realize there are many that want to debate the process of what has gone on and that is not my intention.  My goal here is to focus on our need for calm.  It is so important to create calm in your lives and the lives of your children.  I will caution you that what is calm for your family may look completely different than another family.

So…whatever your decision has been for your children regarding schools opening up…I wish you confidence and peace in your decision.  If you want or need to chat…remember I am here.

You are the parent

I consider myself to have the best job in the entire school.  I have the privilege of talking to so many students,  parents and colleagues.  These are most definitely challenging times.  As I wrote about in my last blog – we are not all in the same boat and we are not experiencing the same challenges.  For some folks I have spoken with they are truly loving the time with their families.  For other families the uncertainty of employment or the health of their loved ones has really burdened them.  Add to all this…being a teacher to you children.

I want to remind you that you are your child’s greatest teacher but you are not their school teacher.  Does that make sense?  I believe that your children are watching you and mimicking you more than you realize.  I have talked with many parents and there is a common theme to each conversation and it goes like this…”I am just so tired of fighting with them to do their work.”

Does that resonate with any of you?  Tired of the constant fight to get your kids to sit down and get work done and then after that battle…try and upload it and submit it? If this does not resonate with you – awesome – just keep on keeping on.  However, if this does resonate with you then maybe you need to rethink how you are doing things.   I believe that the parent child relationship is the most important relationship for a child.  And, that relationship is so worth preserving.

So,  stop fighting with them.  Mix it up…bake together and that can count as Science and Math.  Go for a nature walk and observe people social distancing…or not social distancing – this will spark interesting conversations…and yes, learning.  Is it exactly what they have been asked to do?  Maybe not, but they are learning and you are strengthening your relationship with them.  From my standpoint that is a huge win.  Remember – we are in the middle of a world-wide pandemic and that calls for extreme measures.  Maybe even as extreme as throwing out the curriculum and learning together…growing together…finding peace together or simply being together.

Remember…you are the parent.



We are all in the same storm…but not in the same boat

Dear Parents: 


“We are all in the same storm but we are not all in the same boat.”   Author Unknown 

 Nothing is more accurate than that statement right now. Without a doubt we have all been impacted by this pandemic yet each of us are on our own journey.   I am not sure what the journey in your boat is like but I want you to know we as a school are here to support you and your families as best as we can.  We are community after all!  Feel free to reach out to me or the School Principal if there is something specific you need support with. 

Here is a list of different websites that you might find useful.  


ICBC Information 

BC Hydro 

Fortis BC 



Mortgages Information 

 Rent Information 

Food Sources 

Salvation Army – New Westminster – By appointment – Call in advance  604-521-2421

New Life Community Church – Free Bread Saturday Mornings (while supplies last) 8765 Government Street


Muslim Food Bank – 604-446-6750 –  For individuals or families with dietary restrictions (cultural or religious)  for low

income families or refugees.


Anxiety Canada 


Kids Help Phone 



Finding your Rhythm

Dear parents, 


I know that there is so much on your plate long before we all had to self-isolate for Covid 19.  I wanted to write you and provide some helpful tips for our ‘new normal’ as you try and navigate these interesting times.   

I would encourage you to figure out a ‘new’ rhythm for your family. We always have, and always live by certain rhythms that you may not have even thought about.  The earth rotates around the sun once making a year.  The angle of the earth’s axis changes giving us seasons.  The sun rises every morning and sets every evening.  Though there are slight variations on the timing of these rhythms they are constants in our world.   

So, I encourage you to find a rhythm that works for your family.  I like to call it a rhythm instead of a schedule because it seems less rigid and gives some flexibility to your ‘new normal.    Try different things and see what works for your family.  Talk with “your people” (other parents) and see what is working for them. However, if talking to other people about this and finding out what they are doing adds to your stress then don’t talk about it.  This is not a competition.   It won’t be perfect because what we are living through is far from perfect. 

Take care and feel free to reach out if there is something I can help you with…Sue McAllister 

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