Guest post by Sarah Rainer, PsyD
COVID-19 is everywhere: In the news, across the globe, in adjusting plans, and even in our conversations. And for many, in theirs fears. But COVID-19 doesn’t have to be all about fear. As parents, we can utilize this time to teach our kids about Jesus and the hope found in Him. Here are some pointers:
1. Teach about vulnerable populations
Use this opportunity to educate your children on both vulnerable (elderly, low immunity) and the marginalized (refugee, poor, those without access to medical care) populations who are at higher risk for COVID-19 consequences. Talk about the challenges those populations face and how others can help relieve the burdens.
Talk about God’s blessings in the life of your family and how to steward those blessings well. Let your children know that God owns everything, and you are simply managers of the time, talents, and treasures that God has generously given to you. Discuss how you and your family can utilize those gifts and privileges to help people who are vulnerable or marginalized. Make plans to serve under-served populations, both now and after COVID-19 passes.
Above all, teach your kids about human dignity; that ALL people are created in God’s image (the poor, the sick, the elderly, the unborn, etc.) and we should treat them as valuable in the eyes of the One who created and loves them.
What are your kids witnessing in you: complaining about inconveniences associated with COVID-19 or gratitude for the good things God has given you despite the extenuating COVID-19 circumstances?
Despite the fear, unknown, and inconveniences associated with COVID-19, let your kids see a heart of gratitude for the things God has given you: your health, your home, medical care, your job, freedom, and your kids. You have a home for protection and kids to shepherd, what great blessings!
3. Giving up control
God doesn’t call us to a life of control but a life of giving up control to Him. Although your plans have changed, vacations have been cancelled, and schools have closed, use these as examples to teach your kids flexibility and strength in Christ.
Are you living and believing God is in control? Are you helping your kids do the same? “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”-Proverbs 19:21.
4. Serving others
Are you hoarding supplies? Staying secluded from everyone? Pray that God will give you a spirit of service to those around you, especially during this difficult time. Model what it looks like to lay down opinions, preferences, and fear to better serve those around you. Have extra toilet paper? Offer to share. Your neighbors scared? Reach out and visit them. Model a humble posture, one that desires to glorify God above serving self.
5. Dependency on God
Pray and worship with your kids. Let your kids witness your dependency on God, and teach them to do the same. Not sure what to pray for? Pray for the things listed above: the vulnerable and marginalized populations, that you will steward well the blessings God has given, that you will relinquish control to God, and that God will give you a grateful heart. You can also pray for other countries, the health of others, missionaries serving overseas, the medical community, and the leadership and governments around the world.
COVID-19 can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be all-consuming. Steward the opportunities that COVID-19 brings to live and teach your kids the goodness of God. Show how God can take evil and use it for good. What a witness you can be to your family!
Sarah Rainer is a licensed child psychologist that left private group practice to pursue ministry. Her desires include: helping women grow in their knowledge of God, walking with families in difficult situations, discipleship of children, and utilizing child development to better steward the God-given role of parenting. She is married to Art Rainer and loves their three energetic sons.