Like you, my wife and I are parents with elementary and teenage children at our house. Like you, we are learning to parent and navigate in a new reality due to the COVID-19 circumstances our nation and world faces. Like you, our children have questions and our family has had plans interrupted.
I want to encourage you with a few thoughts God has stirred in my heart as I have prayed for His wisdom to lead my family:
- God is good and God is sovereignly in control. Nothing catches God by surprise. God was already in our circumstances working for our good and His glory. We can trust God.
- God has uniquely chosen and gifted us to be the parents for our children. We can do this. We must do this.
- We do not have to be heroes. Only Jesus can be Jesus for our children. What we can do is be intentional and faithful in our work of parenting to shepherd their hearts to trust God and choose hope.
- Model faith in front of our children. Fear is a horrible motivator and an even worse shepherd. Make the daily choice to trust God and live that out. Read the Bible and pray together as a family. Make a list of prayer requests and questions and make a second column to record God’s answers when He works. Let’s teach our children to trust God.
- Provide structure for the family for each day and week. Our children need the assurance that, even though they are missing out on some activities, life can continue. They have life to live each day. As a parent, we will be glad they have a game plan for the week. We must lead our children.
- Answer the questions they are asking at the level of their understanding. Do not give them more to handle and carry than they are prepared to take responsibility for at their age.
- Plan family activities … go for a walk, a bike ride, play soccer in the yard, play card/board games. Do now what you will be glad you did then. We will never get these days back.
- Pace ourselves. Take a deep breath. We don’t have to do everything we see on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Try some of the ideas, but do not become disillusioned that you have to do everyone else’s plan.
- Allow yourself the grace to parent without the penalty of self-destruction when things do not go exactly as you planned.
- Trust God. Love your family.