Fear Doesn’t Help…Anything
Let me begin by admitting that, like a lot of you, I’m tempted to be fearful. Daily, I’m tempted to worst-case-scenario myself into a frenzied panic. I’ve monitored every symptom of sickness and fretted over every roll of toilet paper. In fact, I’m tempted to let fear and worry win the day. But I’ve decided to rise above these temptations. For the sake of my kids.
I want to encourage other moms (and dads) to rise above it too. That’s why I am sharing some unique parenting tips that I believe will help you turn this trial into a triumph. Eventually.
Before I share the tips, allow me to say I’m sorry for any pain the coronavirus has caused you or your loved ones. I know a small few have lost a family member. Others have watched the virus halt their households. A great many have lost work. More than a few are worried about finances. Multitudes are watching their retirement accounts plummet. And there are many who are frantic about protecting their elderly parents from the virus.
But as we ponder the pain and navigate the negatives, we come to a fork in the road of our thoughts. We can choose to settle in the bad or we can begin to look for some good. I would suggest that, as moms, we must look for the positives—the silver linings. The pain may be real, but the lessons are plentiful.
So these are my tips, simple lessons that moms can pick and choose from, to pass onto their children in these times.
1. The Sun Still Shines
When I took the dogs for a walk a few days ago, I realized that the earth was still spinning, the sun was still shining, the birds were still singing and there was still breath in my lungs. I thought, “I need to remind my kids of this.” Lots of good things are still going on in the world. There are still things to be thankful for.
2. Use It As a “Reset”
I have realized that this is a mandatory reset for Americans—to stop the busyness, spend time with our families and help our neighbors. You can take advantage of it. Turn off the digital stuff and just “be” with your kids for an hour or two. Find out what they are thinking. Play a game. Go on a walk. Remind your kids that family can be a refuge—their “safe place.” In the midst of social distancing, you can still take your kids with you to knock on the door of an elderly neighbor, to ask if they need anything from the grocery store. The enforced slowdown is allowing us to focus on what really matters. To be there for each other.
3. Serving is Better Than Selfishness
Perhaps, you’ve heard the story of the two brothers from Tennessee, who bought up thousands of hand sanitizers, antibacterial wipes and medical masks. They began to sell the products for a large profit on Amazon, to desperate people, willing to purchase the items at inflated prices. Amazon put an end to the brothers’ sales scheme, citing price gouging. The two men were left with over 17.000 bottles of hand sanitizer—eventually donated to churches. Think of how much better off those brothers would have been if they’d just donated some hand sanitizer to local churches from the start. Remind your children that selfishness doesn’t pay. This is a time for us to serve others, just as we would want to be served. Those with enough can buy a bag of groceries for those facing a shortage. Those with stable jobs can order takeout (and tip) from those whose jobs are in jeopardy. This has become an ideal time to practice, “love thy neighbor.”
4. We Can’t Always Get What We Want (Mick Jagger was right)
Most kids in America are used to push-button pleasure. Most—not all—kids in this country can order new shoes on their phone, go to a drive-thru to get nuggets and a Coke, pop something into the microwave and have dinner in 5 minutes. An on-demand lifestyle of convenience and comfort. This is a good time to teach our kids to make due with what we have. We don’t have to feel entitled. We can learn to be thrifty…and even to share.
5. When You Don’t Know What Else to Do, Pray
I believe in prayer. I believe it comforts and gives us hope. And I believe God answers prayer. Consider praying with your children. Ask them if they’d like to say a prayer themselves. When you don’t know what else to do, pray. As a woman of faith, I’m going to offer up one of my favorite scriptures, as we face this national emergency. I hope these words embolden you to be cautious, but not fearful, to be strong and courageous, as a mom. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Remember this, for the sake of your children. They are watching you. And you can lead them through this time, by setting an example that they can follow for a lifetime.