First and foremost, this is a people business, Caring for our students and teachers is our first priority.
Important update - see below to learn how we are responding to the latest developments in the pandemic, and what we are doing for you, to keep you safe, educated, enlightened and happy.
11.04.20 – Darrell Priestley
One thing that almost all of us have in common right now as we socially distance ourselves is that we are missing our families. If anything can make this separation more bearable, it is the knowledge that they are missing us just as much. Even a month ago, we did not imagine ourselves where we are right now. Eileen and I have two grown up children, luckily one of them, a hospital pharmacy manager, lives with us, so that contact continues closely. Our grown up daughter has her own family, a wonderful husband and two beautiful children, one aged 3 years, the other just 8 months. At that age, every day can bring new developments.
As recently as early March, our daughter and baby grand daughter would call in to see us at work every Wednesday morning. Our grand daughter has simply the brightest eyes and the most beautiful smile, and to see her is to want to hold her. A month ago, instead of holding her, we had started blowing her kisses from two metres away. Now of course it is Skype and the like, which for an eight month old works a lot better than the telephone, but really it is amazing how focused she is on the screen when we ‘visit’ her remotely. She recognises us, gazing intently at the screen, listens when we speak, and it’s just wonderful that we are still able to see her develop day by day.
Another aspect that can make distancing more bearable is that you can find yourself becoming ‘useful’ to others. In our family, we have at least one, and sometimes more family members who cannot go out to shop for themselves at this time, and so once or twice a week we deposit shopping or other necessities on their doorstep. This brings with it the opportunity to see loved ones in the flesh, if from a safe distance. Again, not a way any of us would have imagined living back at the beginning of March, but something that most of us are getting better at by now.
It’s good to remember, at a time like this, that the art of getting by often hinges on making the best of whatever situation you find yourself in. So while we might never have planned to stay home and distance ourselves from others to this degree, most of us will be able to find a positive, if we only look hard enough. I love teaching music, it has been a constant source of pleasure and satisfaction in my life, so when the Academy had to suspend lessons in March, not knowing when it would be possible to open again, I had a heavy heart. Fast forward a few weeks, and a lot has changed. Though it has been necessary to make big changes to the administrative part of the business, which has taken us many days to accomplish, we are now coming out the other side, and the benefit is that we are able to begin bringing students on board again with online lessons. I am so happy about this.
Another key element of happiness is having something to hope for. That’s easy for me. I am hoping for a return to seeing friends and loved ones once more, looking forward to holding my grandchildren again. It will be a little longer yet, I know, but oh, it will be worth the wait.