It was a cold, miserable Christmas…or at least, it should have been. The unusual cold snap had frozen Northeast Florida, and the freezing temperatures made the distressed financial situation of my family more evident. The whole house couldn’t be heated, so my parents separated one room from the rest of the house by blankets in the doorway. While that room was warm, the rest of the house was below freezing. Our Christmas tree was handmade; drawn on a poster and taped to the wall. How were my parents feeling? Stressed? They had four young kids to keep happy and to turn into well-adjusted adults from this environment. I can see that now, but back then? Was I worried? No, I was happy. My memories include the warm room, contented times in front of the fireplace, my Dad reading The Hobbit to us, and positive feelings about the wall Christmas tree. Mom and Dad loom large in these memories. I remember the frozen water in the toilet; not as a hardship, but more as a point of interest. My memories of this difficult time were engineered by my parents.
“Our children will view the present crisis (coronavirus/COVID-19) in our country by the lens that we create for them.”
Our children will view the present crisis (coronavirus/COVID-19) in our country by the lens that we create for them. What memories would we like our children to take away? What lessons would we like for them to learn? This is our opportunity to make a difference in our children that will last a lifetime. Build memories. Discuss issues. Learn together. Teach our children about God. Maybe this forced together time is given to us for these reasons. Right now, we have the opportunity to make the choice to teach our children how to handle difficult situations.
As a Christian, I can say that the first action to take in any difficult situation is to pray. Let your children see you praying and then pray with your children. I will never forget my parents praying over a trying and worrisome time. Mostly, though, I will never forget God actually hearing and answering those prayers! I left home knowing that I had a big God who answers prayers. I want my children to leave home with the same knowledge. There is great security (a basic need of children, right?) in knowing that a powerful God loves them and hears them when they pray.
Are you homeschooling your children now? A discussion in the morning about Who God is counts as a Bible or Religion class. Follow it up the next day with a study on the goodness of God (Psalm 3:3-5, 33:5, 34:8, Nahum 1:7). Start memorizing Psalm 23. Have “your students” draw a picture or write a paragraph that shows how God is good to them, and learn a song about God’s goodness (in sign language, if you are ambitious enough). The internet is your friend if you want more ideas.
Enjoy this time with your children. Remember that you are in charge of what they take away from today.