Podcast & Blog: Parenting in the Pandemic - life has gotten a little weird...
Updated: Jun 4, 2020
Listen to this week's episode of the Practically Speaking MOM Podcast that goes in much more detail and includes more than just Parenting in the Pandemic.
Click here to listen to: Parenting in the Pandemic. Plus, Q&A on Root Parenting, Episode 28.
From the Practically Speaking MOM podcast by Val Harrison
Episode 28 also includes a Q&A session with Val on Root Parenting vs. Surface Parenting - how to get our kids to open up about what lurks below the surface of their heart, wherein lies the causes for their behavior.
Oh, Mom, how is your family holding up? Are you feeling confused, overwhelmed, and stunned? If you're like me, you've found it difficult to resist being mesmerized by the constantly developing news reports and press conferences. Honestly, it all feels just a little bit weird to see the world united in attention, all rushing to put the breaks on our fast-paced lifestyles and attempting to move in slow motion for the good of everyone.
We're all experiencing a slower pace, which means time for reflecting on who we are, who God is, what kind of priorities we want to have in life, what really matters in life, who is important to us... all of these are things we never seem to have time to contemplate.
Our new home-contained lifestyle reminds me of life when I was growing up in the 70's. I lived in a small town in Iowa, an hour's drive from the city. We had one grocery store, one bank, and school sports options were limited, including never holding a practice or a game on a Wednesday or a Sunday. Our town didn't even have a movie theater. Of course, this was also before the internet, so kids did things like climb trees, read books, play board games, and enjoy lots of imaginative play. Since our current world crisis doesn't seem near its end, we parents are looking at how to bring normalcy to this new and unusual reclusive life. I thought I would begin a series to help us find our new normal, however temporary it might be, called Parenting in the Pandemic.
This first episode of Parenting in the Pandemic, focuses on getting your family's focus clear. Listen to the podcast episode here.
Give your kids perspective
Just as we parents have had to grapple for perspective, our kids need perspective about all of this, and I'll give you one guess about WHERE they're going to find their perspective. Your child's perspective is going to come from whatever their eyes have been seeing and their ears have been hearing. So, what are they seeing and hearing during this time? Parents, don't waste this precious gift of TIME and AUDIENCE that we've been given with our children. What a priceless treasure! Don't let them get their perspective from a constant dose of sensationalism on the internet, nor allow them to think that the only thing we can do while home is binge on technology. Sure, let them enjoy some shows and games, but keep it in moderation to reinforce the truth that God ordained each of our days to be filled with meaningful growth, loving others, and glorifying Him.
Don't view this time as something to survive or to just GET THROUGH. No, this is a time to THRIVE ON WHAT MATTERS MOST. Parents, please don't waste this opportunity.
Let your kids see TRUST in God and HOPE for the future
God is giving glimpses all around us of ways that He is shifting everyone's minds to the more important things in life and eternity. Help your kids see the right things.
Your kids need to see and hear that you trust God in crisis.
You can show them through your *words *your attitude *and what holds your attention. Display to them that while you don't close yourself off from the facts (watching government briefings, following CDC guidelines), you do not live in fear. There have been times, as a mom, when I have experienced fear and I've told the kids, "My emotions are feeling fearful, but my heart and mind know that God is with me. Our feelings are not truth. I don't trust my feelings, so I'm not going to embrace the fear. Instead, I will embrace truth. Isaiah 41:10 says, 'Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'"
Give your children examples from your life - telling them stories of God's faithfulness to be with you through difficulty and how that difficulty grew your faith in Him.
Help them identify God's love at work today - sharing examples that are happening around us now, of God at work in the midst of the crisis.
*I showed my kids a viral video of Brazil at night. You hear the people from the windows and balconies of their high rise apartments, singing "Because He Lives" in Portuguese and someone shouts, "Hallelujah." It is heartwarming to see that in God's universal language (music), people are turning to eternal perspective in the midst of their isolation. words to Because He Lives
*I read Franklin Graham's March 17 Facebook post to my kids. Let me share it with you so that you can read it to your kids, also, "Early this morning, Samaritan's Purse dispatched one of our 68-bed Emergency Field Hospitals to Cremona, Italy, which has the fastest-growing infection rates of Coronavirus in that country. The hospitals there are overwhelmed and unable to treat all of the sick. We already have four staff on the ground, and our DC-8 left from Greensboro this morning carrying 32 disaster response personnel, and more personnel and supplies will go on Saturday. We are committed to being there as long as there is a need. Please remember them in your prayers—and all those suffering the effects of this COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the work God has called us to and we want to share the love of Christ and the truth that 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.' British missionary C.T. Studd made the statement, “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.' "
I love this so much! God is at work in the crisis - equipping and motivating people to demonstrate love well. May we all do this with the resources we have - both emotional, spiritual, physical resources. Now is our time to let Christ's love shine through. May I not waste this opportunity.
Provide examples of heroic people from history to inspire your children's faith and courage - reading or listening to missionary biographies is a great way to get our attention OFF of "poor me" and on to, "I can do what is best, even if it's hard." Learning about different Christian missionaries allows our children to learn about the many ways that God compassionately involves Himself in crisis to bring His love and rescue THROUGH speaking to His people and asking them to HELP in the cause. Kids' lives should be full of learning about heroes who did noble things in the face of difficult circumstances and now we have the time to learn together and discuss together. For older children, you can discuss "What kind of head space and heart space does a missionary or medical professional or police officer or fire fighter have going on that they would run toward a crisis to meet people’s needs instead of running away from the crisis?"
Watch the Torchlighter series on Amazon Prime (this series is inspiring to all ages. However, young children might be frightened by some of the harsh realities of some mission stories, so I would recommend that you preview for under age 10).
Here's how our family gets inspired by missionaries or historical heroes:
*read or watch a video about the hero.
*research the country and history of the country where they helped - with so much technology, there's endless hours of great videos and reading about a country's culture, geography, terrain, climate, history, politics...
*research what was going on in the world in that time period of when they lived
*if your kids are younger, you can look for some free reproducibles of coloring pages or lapbooking pages or you could let them sculpt some Playdough or draw or paint about the story while you read to them.
*get on your local library’s free audio cite or app and see if there are some Christian missionary biographies to listen to while they are doing art or Legos or even cleaning their room!
Inspire them to DEMONSTRATE LOVE in tangible ways
This unique crisis is revealing the hearts of the people of Christ's church - pushing us all to not just be about worship services and buildings, but to actually DEMONSTRATE LOVE in tangible ways.
Here's some things you can do
*check on elderly and single moms in your neighborhood
*proactively seek out needs to meet whether it's giving some toilet paper or food, ask God to help your family identify needs around you or through social media
*treasure the senior citizens in your life by calling them or buying groceries for them
*have empathy for the high school and college seniors that you know and ask God to help you identify ways to celebrate them and give them recognition
Make a BLESSINGS CALENDAR to change the focus and the habits in your family
One of my kiddos has been struggling with selfishness (this isn't surprising since her mom struggles with this as well, and really all of us do). So, we began a BLESSINGS CALENDAR. You could give each child their own calendar or all share one. If you share one, give each a different color pen. Each person writes on that day a blessing that you gave someone - a demonstration of love. We want it to be at least one blessing to a family member that we live with and one thing to someone outside of the home (there's lots of ways to bless others or love on others even if we can't be near them physically through prayer, texts, emails, calls, video calls, dropping off care packages if you are healthy and keeping the items germ-free).