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Navigating tough times
michelle beran
Michelle Beran

A book by Charles Dickens begins “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...” 

For the worst of things – it is scary as schedules are topsy-turvy, panic buying continues, employees are laid off, and businesses temporarily closed.

On the other hand, these are times to slow down, plant a garden, get out the sidewalk chalk. One of my favorite notes recently, elaborately drawn in chalk, is “Choose Happy!” Other good activities include reading with your family and being creative in how you connect with others through social media, phone calls, white board messages, writing a letter!

Your Cottonwood Extension District office is still open! Yes, the doors are closed and we are, generally, working from home but we are working! Working to bring you health and wellness ideas for exercise, mindfulness and meal planning. Working to provide resources for ag and natural resources – it’s a great time to plan and plant a garden! Working to bring you activities for youth.

Yes, my work looks different right now but it is good work!

It can be hard to fairly address questions and concerns with youth while calming our own hearts and minds. K-State Research and Extension have a number of excellent resources that can guide family conversations especially with youth. Children learn by example. Are you setting an example of kindness and compassion? An example of resiliency, grit, determination? An example of “we’ll get through this together”? 

A Fred Rogers quote states, “At many times throughout their lives, children will feel the world has turned topsy-turvy. It’s not the ever-present smile that will help them feel secure. It’s knowing that love can hold many feelings, including sadness, and that they can count on the people they love to be with them until the world turns right side up again.”

Cottonwood Extension District is here to help provide adults and the youth in our world with resources as we get this topsy-turvy world settled down.

Michelle Beran is the 4-H and Youth Development Agent for the Cottonwood District, Barton County office. For more information on this article or other 4-H Youth and Development related questions email Michelle at or call 620-793-1910.