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September 15, 2020 42 min


Checking in Krishon and Danielle Allen:

Danielle Allen says this is “the longest year of our entire lives.”

When the pandemic hit she became the pseudo-teacher, scheduling “classes” between her work conference call. Krishon became the principal. 

Krishon noted it they were trying to condense an 8 hour day school day in to two hours. He said to his kids, “You can prolong it with whining or you can get it done.”

Krishon said in March he had to learn Zoom with this kids. The struggle was how to still be productive in his job, because nothing is stopping even in the pandemic, while also assuring the kids don’t fall behind in school. Even with all the pressure at the end of the school year, the grade came out as pass or fail and they laughed it off, they could have just done “mid-level work.”

Danielle is an operations management for a tech company and Krishon does I.T. Management for the dept of the navy. They have 11 and 8 year old daughters. Danielle remarked it was a weird time to transition into Middle School.

Her oldest quickly got in the flow to online learning; her teachers posted all the assignments for the whole week and she was able to work at her own pace. The youngest saw her sister working and tried to do work ahead of time so she could have a long weekend. 

It was a “get through to the end of the school year and get to summer.” There was also a shift or discovery about productivity when the girls would come to “school” in their pajamas vs. when they got up and got dressed.  Danielle C. identified it as a mindset shift, and they were able to implement it in the entire household.

The way we learn subjects is totally different than the way their kids are now. Krishon said “ It was survival mode for all of us. Don’t tell me what your teachers said about how to do this math.” They had to google common core just to understand what the kids needed to learn. They had to fill the learning gap. And in the end taught their kids two ways to do math! 

Krishon said for this fall they are still feeling like it’s going back to March since we don’t know how long this virtual school is going to last and they still have to work full time jobs. The dynamic of the aspect continues to force them to prepare for the unknown. 

Danielle feels that having a set schedule is helpful for creating subject in the household, especially as she is going into work a couple of days a week. 

She goes back to work “carefully.” Thankfully her office has few people and the space allows for good distancing as well as she maintains good health habits. They have a “decontamination” process for when they return home. She doesn’t want to put her family at risk and she does what she needs to do in order to keep her family safe. 

Danielle says this has unfortunately made people not want to socialize. Everyone is more mindful. There’s stress for getting used to the process and talking through masks. But it’s what needs to be done for all people to be safe. 

Krishon says mask wearing has become polarized and political, everything is heightened where they are in Maryland, being so close to Washington DC.

Danielle C. says that Mexico and Morocco isn’t having the same tension with mask wearing.

Krishon looked back to see how long things have taken before to make changes including smoking indoors, seat belt wearing… There’s fight and registration before change will happen; both sides argue their case and compromise is finally reached. It’s always for the safety of the majority of the population. 

Danielle says we need to be thinking for the greater good, for the collective, not just for individual rights and how it’s affecting me. 

Krishon spent a bit of time in Japan and at first he was taken aback by mask wearing, asking, “do I need to wear a mask?” But they he learned that when someone is feeling under the weather there, they wear a mask as a way to protect everyone else. 

Danielle C. says it feels like we are each fighting in our own corner. 

Krishon says ultimately he and Danielle are responsible for the health and well being of their family. Even if the schools said “hey, everyone come on back to in person school” they had been making decisions to look into alternative schooling so their kids could be at home until they felt is was safe. There’s so much information coming as us and we have to filter what is real, what information is going to help us make a good decision for our family.  The necessary step is to say I am responsible for my kids.

Krishon looked at the response to COVID is regional. There are places in the country could send their kids to school and it would probably be okay. But where they are in DC they are heavily impacted. He said he is watching the COVID numbers. And they want to be able to support their family and so it puts all of them at risk if the kids are in school physically. Their kids have a level of anxiety because Krishon and Danielle haven’t totally shielded them from all the information. They wanted to keep them informed without adding so much stress. 

Danielle C. says that as we talk about the pandemic is disproportionately affecting brown and black bodies she heard someone say, “the pandemic will stave us because we can’t work, or it will kill us because we are working.” 

Krishon says “Responses vary and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all” for the pandemic.

Danielle A. says she tries to help her girls see the bigger picture of life, that you’ll be able to look back one day and say yeah that was a hard year but it didn’t stop me from finishing school or had such an impact that I wasn’t able to become a successful and productive adult. They encourage them to always look for the positive and something to be grateful. 

Being always in the house was a big transition, especially since Krishon did so much traveling for work and they were busy with school and sports… But they appreciate all the time together with games nights, movies, date-night in… We survived COVID and we’re still marriage! 

There can be some tension if in your marriage you’re with each other all day and you’ve heard how their day was because you were with them. Krishon says you can’t lean on your norms of play-by-play of our days; you get to stretch and go into the deeper conversations that add to your relationships. 

Danielle C says it’s an invitation to a different kind of knowing, a different kind of being together, something deeper. 

Krishon says while they still want away time with each other, it has turned into chilling and waiting together.


Krishon is reading: “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothsteins

Krishon is listening to: the Lincoln Project Podcast

Kristhon is Inspired by: People are still going forward over 3 months after George Floyd and people haven’t not gone back to their regular routines, they are still fighting. 

Danielle is reading: “Caste” The Origins of our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson

Danielle is Listening to: 90s RnB, Monica and Brandy

Danielle is inspired by: what could be after the country reaches the tipping point, seeing what we do with this moment in history


Krishon has his own podcast chatting with everyday heros, ideas and sharing stories of the people for the people. We’re more similar than we are different, if we could just pause and listen to each other. The podcast is called “Taking Steps.” Find him on Instagram @takingstepspodcast

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