If you’re like most people, you’re praying for a quick end to the coronavirus global pandemic. I don’t blame you. So am I. The virulent pathogen has taken over 10,000 lives and upended hundreds of millions more here in the United States alone.
It’s a tragedy unlike we’ve seen in America in over a century.
You’re doing your best to make the most of your time at home, possibly balancing your career with homeschooling kids – all the while trying to maintain your sanity and remain safe and healthy.
Assuming you have some, how are you spending your newly found free time?
I’d like to suggest there are 5 things every family should do before life goes back to “normal” – whatever “normal” may look like for you and your crew.
If you think about it, you may never have a time like this again. I’m not talking about a health pandemic – I’m talking about a season with so little on your family’s calendar.
No ball games to taxi kids to and from. No music or swim lessons. No AWANA, Sunday school, scouts or other school-related responsibilities.
All good things – but many activities that temporarily separate parents and children.
Kids who have been gone for months are home from college. Once the quarantine lifts, some of them may never sleep under your roof for an extended period again.
So, here are some things I hope you’ll consider doing:
1. Eat together. Hopefully many of you are already doing this, but it’s easy to eat in front of the television. Plan a menu, assign jobs in the kitchen to each person in the family and then sit down and break bread together.
Research shows that families who share meals are happier and more successful. Kids are more likely to open up while eating.
2. Look back. Reminiscing is fun. Pull out the family albums or videos. Tell the old stories, even sharing with your kids again how you and your spouse met. Tell them again about the day they were born. Shared history melds and molds us together.
We read in Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.”
3. Look ahead. It’s been said that looking forward to things is half the fun of them. I think that’s true. Yes, schedules have been upended and plans have been scuttled. But what are you looking forward to when the virus risk recedes?
There might be a lot of question marks surrounding your summer – but so what? Hope allows us to imagine what could and very well may be in the days ahead.
4. Keep moving. Jean and I have been getting out for a 2-3 mile walk each day. It’s become a favorite part of my day. It’s important to get the heart rate up. Sweat cleanses from the inside out.
But activity is about more than maintaining good physical health. “Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends,” once wrote Thomas Jefferson.
5. Dream – and pray! Is there something you’ve been thinking about doing for years – a big goal that seems slightly beyond your reach? Start a new business? Write a book? Go back to school and finally get that degree or certification?
Goals provide structure and focus. Write down your dreams. Pray and ask God for guidance as to whether your aspirations align with His will.
So, let’s pray for a turn of the tide – but let’s also make good use of the time we’re given in this unique and trying season.