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Covid-age skills going forward



Being forced to learn new skills will ultimately help you

Being forced to learn new skills will ultimately help you


As hard as it may be to grasp, some of the skills we’re being forced to learn and/or hone due to the Covid-19 pandemic could – and likely will – serve us well in the post-pandemic years. I’m talking both specific parenting skills and so-called “soft skills,” i.e. character traits, personal attributes, and other non-technical abilities that help you work and communicate with other people. Like it or not, as we’ve needed to communicate in new and different ways, over Zoom, or in-person and protocol-conscious, those skills in particular have necessarily become sharper.

Granted, times remain hard, and most people I know would cringe – or worse – if someone said, “Look on the bright side!” Nevertheless, if you’ve needed to learn an online teaching platform, or help your child with it (or your child has helped you), or if you’ve been forced to do more in less time, congratulations, you are more than you were.

Speaking for myself, prior to March of this year, I could count on one hand how many FaceTime calls I’d made. (Not a fan.) I’d rarely engaged in Skype, and I’d never been on Zoom or Google Hangout. I’d never taken, or taught, an online class of any kind.

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As a guitar and bass teacher, and member of the Onteora School Board, I had to learn fast. I would not have thought I would master these platforms, but I have. Eight months on, I have lost count of the number of online lessons I’ve taught. I even played a surprise birthday party on Zoom for a friend’s wife – me in the Catskills, they in Tel Aviv, and various family members scattered across the U.S., all of us in little rectangles on laptops, singing. (Out-of-synch singing, but it was better than nothing.)

In a strikingly upbeat pep talk, writer Eileen Hoenigman-Meyer calls Zoom skills “Rock Star Professional Skills.” She notes how “communication is now a survival skill.”

To parents, she writes, “Every day, you’re blasting out various nuanced messages directed at kids, teachers, administrators, doctors, coaches, managers, and co-workers – a wealth of preparation, diplomacy, and detail shapes each initiative.”

Of course it’s not quite like that with anyone I personally know, but it’s nice to get the positive reinforcement, and an image of what could be if, in fact, one was as stellar and flawless as Hoenigman-Meyer imagines.



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