“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste*. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”― Rahm Emanuel, former governor of Chicago
I love quotes, they can contain a great deal of wisdom in a sentence or two. The one from Emanuel is especially appropriate now. Few will argue that we are not in a serious crisis. And yes, this too will pass but like all crises, it’s a pain while you are in it. That said, I urge you to start considering how your family child care association will use this pandemic to strengthen the association, your members and family child care in your community and/or state.
That may seem odd to consider at the moment, but I see tremendous opportunities for family child care to get a new level of respect and support post-coronavirus. Across the country, Governors and government agencies from the state down to the city level are learning lessons about the importance of child care in a pandemic. And many are developing a new appreciation of the advantages and importance of family child care.
In the last few days, the following quotes came across my newsfeed/email:
And this recently in an email from a state official:
"We especially need our family day homes right now so it is GREAT to hear from you.. .Family day homes are essential right now. Thanks for your service in this time of need." Red emphasis is hers, not mine!
So now what? First and foremost, keep communicating with your state agencies and your members. This is your time to shine, to provide both of these groups with reliable information and position* the association as the “go-to” organization for communicating with providers in your community/state. (*If you already have those relationships, help your local chapters strengthen their local connections.)
Beyond that, now is an excellent time for you and your board to start thinking about the future. Sadly, many FCC homes are closed across the country and along with that comes a tremendous amount of worry and fear for those providers. If you have board members that have closed their programs, then here is a silver lining, you have time on your hands. Give your board members something to focus on and to generate hope for the future. Start planning on how your association will help the field once the social distancing eases up.
Now is NOT the time to cancel your board meetings. You can strengthen the bonds among your board members by meeting during this crisis and engage in constructive conversations about the future. Use the free teleconference services or free video conferencing services to hold board meetings.
When you begin planning, start with one stakeholder group you want to focus on. It could be:
The whole field of family child care providers in your community/state
Your elected officials at the state and/or local level
Your disaster preparedness leaders at the state and local level
At some point, I strongly suggest you discuss how to build relationships with the agencies in your communities that are responsible for coordinating state and county disaster preparedness work. These folks have a new appreciation for how important family child care is, and my guess is they know very little about what you do, your challenges and how to find you. They could be very good partners to have in the coming months and years.
As time goes on, expand your focus and think big! On that note, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes of all time:
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.—Michelangelo
Family child care providers are amazing individuals who give so much of themselves to others. Don’t underestimate your power simply because others don’t see it or acknowledge it. Now is your time. Use it wisely.
Want to chat about how to position your association for success? Contact me and we can chat about what's on your mind.
Till next time,
*His comments were no doubt inspired by the person credited for saying it first, Niccolo Machiavelli, who wrote in the 15th century, “Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis.”