In these times of uncertainty, it is very easy to feel discouraged, afraid, and anxious. Everyone seems to be in the same boat. We are all trying our best to be healthy, protect our families, and be prepared for the worst case scenarios. I admit, these are very dark times we are living in, and to see the silver lining in it is not the easiest thing to do. But for us to survive this, we need to have hope. We need to see what good this can all bring to us.
The past years, we’ve had a dialogue on how we can build stronger characters in our children to equip them to face trials as they grow up. I believe the COVID-19 outbreak is one of the best opportunities to teach our children values and lessons they will learn best in watching us role model, discuss, and put in real terms what it means to overcome. How they learn from this can prepare them to face future, failures, mistakes, and disappointments.
First of all, we need to discuss with our children that trials are real. Even mommies and daddies experience problems, in this case the COVID-19 outbreak. It will be an opportunity for us to show that problems in life happen, it is not something we should be ashamed of sharing with people we love, and it is also a chance for each family member to show how they can ask from help from each other. We can also discuss as a family what it means to be resilient during this time. It means that as the situation progress, we find ways to rise above it together. Share with your kids that though you feel uncertain, you keep fighting because you know there will always be a solution, even to the scariest circumstance. Your children will put lessons like this in their hearts as they grow up.
Remind your children that it is normal to be afraid, and to admit that you are afraid. Kids should have that security from their parents that even if they feel weak and scared, they will not be judged for it. This is a reminder for us grown ups as well. But the best way to counter this is also understanding that God has us in the palm of his hands. He will not leave us especially in the times when we are vulnerable and afraid. In this time that we have no security in protecting ourselves, we rely that God can do the impossible, He can protect our household. Remind your kids that anytime they feel afraid, they can ask God for his protection.
We see the reality of hoarding now. The truth is, when fear and panic is around, it is difficult not to put our defenses up. We can hoard simply because we feel the urgency to protect our families. However, life lessons like this comes once in a blue moon. We talk to our kids regularly about “sharing is caring”, but in this case, we get to really walk the talk. That we can share, and not only when it is convenient, but also when people really need our help the most. Explaining to them the small acts of generosity you can do to your household help, neighbors, frontliners, and the whole community in general, is like watching a real life lesson happening before their eyes. Involve them too and ask them how you can be generous with the community. Children have such generous hearts we can learn from.
Human nature will push us to think of ourselves. But love for others will be a good motivation to step out and think of others. This however has to be intentional. For older kids, challenge them to look for ways to help out. Maybe have a list of people you check on everyday via social media. Those people will appreciate even a simple, “How is your family doing?” and offering words of encouragement that you believe we all can get through this. For smaller kids, ask them to partake in simple ideas like sending an encouraging song to grandparents or praying for them over the phone. Children’s prayers and candid performances certainly offer positive breathers amidst all the discouraging news that fill our feeds.
Lastly, there will always be a desire to take back control. We will try to plan and prepare, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But remember, we cant do it all, especially now that so many things are beyond our control. Having a family prayer time will help your kids see that you are united in this, that you care for people around you, that you are safe in the arms of God. And as they go through life, may they always feel that their family and faith can get them through the darkest valleys in life.