The responses of my children to the coronavirus (much like my own emotions) have run the gamut this past week. From tears to indifference, full-on spring break party mode to my youngest being FULLY convinced he is still going to his preschool Pajama Party, it has been a whirlwind of emotion.
In the middle of all the unknowns, moms stand as a source of strength and protection for our children. And in these uncertain times, we can still create a culture of peace and calm in our homes.
Steady heart, mama. Strong hands, mama. We are never alone in our comforting, parenting or guiding of these little hearts and young minds in our care.
God is with us in these days and weeks ahead. We do not need to fear the unknown; God already knows it. He whispers to us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV). God already knows all the intricate details of our entire world, and He also cares deeply and lovingly about all the details of our hearts and homes.
Whether our children are scared, oblivious, or in party mode, we have a unique opportunity with our home-bound children to intentionally help them navigate through these days and weeks ahead. We know our children will grow up to face more unknowns in life than just the coronavirus. But maybe for such a time as this, we have been chosen to help equip and guide them.
Here are five practical ways we can walk with our children in the weeks ahead.
1. Listen to their fears.
Over the past week, my husband and I have been talking and planning how to best take care of our family of six. But we also need to stop and listen to our children. Our kids need to feel heard and understood. Allowing them space and permitting them to express their thoughts and feelings (even the negative ones) are valuable life skills. When we listen to their fears, we help them cope with powerful emotions and put them in their proper place so they do not control us. As parents when we listen to our children we help them understand and master this great skill.
2. Pray with them.
Prayer is powerful, not because we say wonderful or elegant or earth-shattering things. Prayer is powerful because the Person we are speaking to is All-Powerful. It’s good to remind our children (and ourselves) that prayer changes us because it pushes us deeper into the presence of an Almighty God. He isn’t surprised by this recent pandemic. He isn’t scared about the outcome or confused about what to do. He cups us deep within His hands and guides us through all our unknowns. His sure and steady hands lead us, shelter us, and provide for us. God is with us, and we can call on Him boldly in prayer. He will always hear us. Prayer calms little hearts and re-centers young minds. And sometimes, even as parents, it’s good to remember we too have a good Heavenly Father who hears and listens to us.
3. Remind them of God’s promises.
What we allow to fill our minds will drive our thoughts, our words, our actions, and our emotions for the day. How we frame our thinking and view our circumstances can either be very good or very bad. Helping our children find and discover God’s great promises in the Bible is a simple and practical way of guiding their young minds towards peace. There are so many of His promises to discover and hang onto as we give God our fears.
4. Celebrate your family time.
As moms, we have the incredible power of setting the emotional tone in our home. We can either worry or pray. We can either be fearful or peaceful. We can either be upset or calm. We can either be joyful or impatient. We can either be loving or unkind. We get to choose. It is hard to be both at the same time. When we choose to celebrate the good moments in the middle of bad things happening around us, and when we choose to trust in God no matter our outward circumstances, we give our children the gift of a peaceful home.
5. Serve others well.
Jesus thought loving our neighbor was so important it was His second greatest command behind loving God (Matthew 22:37-39). With social distancing, loving our neighbor will look different and we may have to get creative, but we can still choose to love others and lead our children in this love. Sharing or donating resources, writing a letter of encouragement, or making a phone call are just a few ways we can choose to serve each other. Caring for someone else might be what your children and your family need to help these uncertain days and weeks pass quickly.
Steady heart, mama. Strong hands, mama. In these uncertain days you walk through with your children, you are never alone. God is with you. May His peace sink deep into your hearts and His love invade every corner of your home. May your trust in His goodness be so contagious that your children would catch it and your home be a bright light to those around you.