Teaching our children to be brave simply means we continue living and serving others as the world walks through hardship.
It hasn’t been easy. These past few months, this sobering year. Each day marked by a new, urgent call-to-action. Weeks punctuated by statistics and pundits. There is no more normal because there is no longer the luxury of routine. The rules keep changing and even our best efforts have left us chaffed and raw around the edges.
We are creatures of habit, lattes, and comfort traversing an obstacle course devoid of rules. The very four walls we relied on to provide solace from the stress of a noisy life, have become office, school, infirmary, and church. Home is where our heart is supposed to rest but now the world has a seat at our kitchen table.
I can’t be the only one grieving a restructured life.
Life Continues Despite Our Differences
Eighteen months with no end in sight and all anyone wants to do is argue. While social media decides the fate of humanity, I stand at the kitchen sink, suds slipping down my arm. The dishes still need to be washed, the laundry is piled on the couch. The kids are here and everywhere, yet I’ve learned to enjoy the slamming of the back door as they come in and out, in and out.
Shoes kicked off and feet smacking on the hardwood floor as they grab drinks and snacks. They’ll come back later, exhausted and smelling of grass and sunshine, and I will hope they’ve forgotten the disappointment of the library being closed again or the friend who could only wave from a distance. I want to marvel at their ability to adapt but in the same breath remember their many moments of tears and frustration. How do we help them thrive in an environment of constant change?
I think we teach them to be brave.
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14
I love how Paul rejoices even while shackled and burdened by chains! During his confinement, his willingness to share the Gospel knew no bounds. Whether it was guards or fellow inmates, Paul continued to live a life of courage when it would have been easier to cower in the shadow of the unknown.
God assures us we can live the same joyful, brave life even in an unpredictable world. As parents, we can use our changing and sometimes daunting circumstances to reinforce Who our foundation is built on and what it really means to be safe (Proverbs 3:23-26). Are we teaching our kids to put life on hold until the torrential rains have passed, or are we giving them the tools they need to weather the storm? Friends, this may not be the hardest challenge they face in their lifetime.
Teach them to be brave.
If our home has become our church, are we serving the worn and weary? Are our front doors flung wide open to feed hungry souls or comfort the grieving? There is so much of it. Our communities are filled with people who desperately need the church yet too many of us have withdrawn from service. We have taken quiet, comforting solace in our designated safe spaces. But let us remember the urgent sliding and clanking of Paul’s chains as he tirelessly preached hope. Little eyes and ears follow our example.
Teenagers, already anxious to launch, need to be reminded of the assurances they have through faith in Christ; to go in to an almost unrecognizable world ready to share the hope of salvation. While safety is a consideration, we must resist the temptation to elevate physical safety over spiritual safety.
I believe we have been given a tremendous reminder that being brave has nothing to do with not being afraid. It means being afraid and taking that big step anyway, knowing God has called us to do so in faith. They’re watching and learning how to react to it all, and one day I hope we can say that we created more opportunities for faith than we did fear.
The world needs us to be engaged because light always shines brightest in the dark.