The last few weeks, parents in our communities have faced some unprecedented things. There has been widespread fear for our health and the health of our loved ones. Panic to prep our households in case of quarantine. Long lines and craziness at stores. We are now facing school closures, work closures and for some reason toilet paper is nowhere to be found.
For our children this may be their “Where were you on 9/11?” moment. This level of upset may be something that will leave an indelible mark on their childhood. As parents, as the gatekeepers of our households, we can set the tone for how that mark is made. Will they remember an unexpected time of togetherness, or will they remember the panic and fear? Will they remember praying for and helping those around them?
Parents, take a deep breath. First and foremost, we must stand on God’s promises to us. There are so many. “He has a plan for us.” “He is our Shepherd.” “He promises to make all things good.” “He is our Shelter and strong tower.” And SO many more. One of my heroes of faith is Corrie ten Boom. She survived a concentration camp during World War II, losing most of her family, and went on to document her story in her book called The Hiding Place. A great quote from her states, “When all earthy security is very uncertain, we experience with tremendous joy the INVINCIBILITY of the Sure Rock to which our anchor is eternally fastened.” We can cling to that truth that we have something to depend on through these unsure times.
So what does that mean for us? What does that mean in our day-to-day lives? We cannot have the expectation of “normal” right now, and that’s ok. We have a new normal for the time being. Many of us are trying to figure out how to deal with school at home. That is a new normal. Many of us are having to figure out how to work from home. That again is a new normal. We cannot allow our circumstances to dictate our response. In moments of feeling overwhelming panic, it helps to “take captive every thought” and focus on “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things…..And the God of peace will be with you.” This may seem like simplistic advice, but it is something that has impacted my life dramatically. We will always have moments of panic or anxious thoughts pop into our head. It is what we do with that that matters. Do we dwell on it? Do we allow it to spill over onto those around us, creating panic in them? Or do we take captive that thought and spin it?
For example, “my children are possibly going to be home for weeks on end?!?!” Instead of freaking out on all the things this could mean for you, for work, for education, and the “how am I going to do all this?!” Choose to focus on the fact that you have family time coming. What can you teach your children right now? What can you work on doing better as a family? Is there a big chore you can all pitch in and do together? The freneticism of daily life may come to a screeching halt. We can utilize this time to instill things in them. And maybe take a deep breath and have unexpected time together as a family.
Things are seemingly scary but we know the One who holds our future. Now is the time to teach our kids how faith works by being the example. When you start to feel fear, stop and pray. Let them observe you in this process. These are amazingly valuable lessons that they may not be able to see otherwise. We as South Floridians know how to do this. We all come together as a community before and after a hurricane. This is another storm to weather together and support each other through. Let this be a time that your child can look back on as a time where they saw faith in action.
Visit parentingonpurpose.org for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts.