Being present for the children
August 11, 2021
It’s more than anti-vaccine stances…
August 11, 2021

Time for individual attention

Sr Sarah Marie Waterman O Carm is attached to the Christ Child Convalescent Home, Diego Martin which is a children’s home run by the Corpus Christi Carmelite Sisters.

As children had to adjust their school lives from being physically present in schools to virtual learning, Sister believes that her presence was necessary, as she attempted to assist the students.

While supervising, she ensured that systems were put in place to suit each child’s unique learning style. They were encouraged to actively participate in discussions with their teachers and fellow students.

Most students at the Home had access to virtual learning as their schools had shifted to this new form of learning. However, there were a few children who did not have this opportunity.

Sr Sarah made use of programmes from other schools to accommodate these children. “This proved to be beneficial and added to the children’s social as well as basic life skills.”

The Sisters also introduced an online Agricultural Science project as they gave the children an opportunity to experiment with the principle of Hydroponics.

The children at the Home are coping during the pandemic. They have access to recreational activities within the Home’s compound which has a play park. Being allowed to go outside in their own personal space gives them an opportunity to let go of all their emotions and energy. The children are also allowed to look at educational programmes on television which enrich their knowledge and overall well-being.

As a spiritual mother, Sr Sarah expressed that it is her responsibility to provide the children with parental guidance, in addition to imparting the spirituality of generosity to them.

She also ensures that she makes time to speak to them individually, as she attempts to understand their struggles and find ways to help them alleviate these problems. “There are a lot of behavioural problems that are associated with children during this time, a lot of energy that needs to be redirected in a positive light,” she said.

The most challenging aspect of the pandemic for her as a religious sister, is time management. There is a constant demand for time as different activities are hosted online, as well as the need to be physically present to the children.

Sr Sarah believes that it is important for children to be guided by their parents or guardians. There is a need for structure and routine to ensure that children are kept to task each day. In addition, she thinks that parents and guardians should teach their children about being able to name their emotions which in turn will help them to manage their feelings.

Another activity that helps children to express their feelings in a non-judgemental space is journalling. Sr Sarah explained that “While engaging in this activity, so many skills are built for example: writing skills, spelling, sentence structure, vocabulary and grammar can be enhanced.”

On Covid, she said that it “…has certainly provided us with the opportunity to be empathic towards others, to ensure that our neighbour’s basic needs are met.”

She explained that the pandemic has caused us to remove all our attention from ourselves as we reach out to others, in several ways that cannot be measured which include checking on relatives, friends and community members.

Sr Sarah’s message of hope to those who have lost loved ones either due to the coronavirus or suicide – “Pain is never easy; we are faced with sudden death of loved ones whether we are prepared or not… However, our consolation is that we are given the opportunity to pray that they are in a better place and God who is merciful will grant them solace.”