Finding Your Silver Lining  – Distance Learning Week 5

Finding Your Silver Lining


“[S]ome are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” 

(Act II, Scene v of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 1602)

Dear Elementary Parents, 

In these unsettled times of distance learning, campus closure, and disjointed family routines, our UNIS community has become more resilient through adversity. 

Our elementary teachers are inhabiting a campus bereft of children; our students endure temporary exclusion from their learning environment, they miss their peers and friends and pine for direct contact with their teachers; and our parents have continued to manage their new and unexpected roles, in which they are being asked to be everything to everyone.

All the while, we keep our eyes on our news media feeds and our minds ponder “what ifs” and “if, whens”. We remain thoughtful of and connected to our families, colleagues and friends in areas of the world that are now progressively more impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak. Our international community is traveling through tumultuous times.

Locally we have been beholden to week-by-week updates regarding our campus closure. These have morphed into something of a weekly community ritual with associated emotional upheaval as we await, anticipate and dare to hope for the return to normalcy that a campus reopening both symoolizes and literally provides us. 

Little wonder that nerves might be frayed and our individual and collective patiences are likely to be wearing thin. 

And yet…Does research unveil a silver lining? 

The challenges that our community members have faced, whether they be students, educators or parents, are not for nothing. This time is not “lost”; instead we have the opportunity to find a broader meaning from these weeks of campus closure

And if we can find it for ourselves, we can teach and model it for our children. 

As a way of reframing this experience, let’s take a look at the Human Skills Matrix, via MIT. It’s research-based, future looking and up to date. The HSM makes for interesting reading in its own right, and is highly compelling as we consider what a set of “essential non-technical skills” might look like for the day when our children mature into the workforce and seek to professionally “thrive in today’s digitally-powered organizations”.

“Resilience is a muscle. 

Flex it enough and it will take less effort to get over the emotional punches each time.”

Alecia Moore (aka Pink)

Read more on resilience via

Many authors and researchers believe aspects of character can be strengthened (by use) just like the physical muscles in our body (take for example, the writing on ‘grit’ by Angela Duckworth).

Looking through the lens of the Human Skills Matrix, what do you notice about how campus closure has inadvertently provided you and your children with chances to flex your ‘persistence’, ‘initiative’ or ‘empathy’ muscles

How might our ‘comfort with ambiguity’ levels have been deepened in ways that will benefit us and our children later in life? Is it safe to say that our adaptability quotient has increased fourfold during this time? 

The HSM is just one way of reframing this unique period of time in a more positive light, and you may have already discovered your own silver lining through other resources or your friendships, faith, personal philosophies and/or families. We would like to hear from you and perhaps even share these stories with our community in order to bolster collective strength during this time.

We all wish for robust character development for our children, students, and indeed ourselves. Perhaps through these weeks of Covid-19 upheaval, the foundation of greatness, in many small and large ways, have been thrust upon us all? 

Warmest regards, 

The UNIS ES Counseling Team


Kris Bezzerides (Discovery – Grade 2,

Dylan Meikle (Grades 3-5,

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