Now more than ever, as a parent, we have an opportunity to lead our families wisely. Not out of fear or insecurity, but out of our God-given calling. A calling that is especially important during the circumstances we are facing due to the spread of COVID-19.
There is so much being done to stop the spread but the truth is we will probably be pretty isolated with much uncertainty for the next six weeks at least. Beyond the crucial health considerations of washing hands, social distancing, good eating habits, etc., how can we walk with our kids through this unique time in history? As you know already, they are not immune to the many dangers being discussed.
By now, most schools have been closed.
Sports seasons have been cut short.
Extra-curricular activities are on pause.
And so with all of the closings and chatter surrounding the coronavirus, there is often a lot of fear, worry, and disappointment amongst our kids. Most of the time our kids aren’t even able to articulate or communicate these feelings to us as parents. Which is why it’s so important that we lead our kids and lead them wisely.
Here are a few simple ways we can lead our family during the COVID-19 crisis:
- Root yourself first
Before we lead our child, we have to remember we are a child. We have a Father who loves us and has promised to be with us. By our faith in Jesus, we are sons and daughters. We are safely and securely rooted in the Father’s love, goodness, and faithfulness.
And so, it’s important for us to abide in Jesus (John 15:4) each day. We need to stay rooted. Where there are no roots there will be no fruit. As we cultivate our own walk with Jesus, spending time each day with Him, we will produce good fruit. Fruit that looks like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. A life NOT rooted in Jesus will produce the fruit of worry, insecurity, fear, selfishness, and grasping for control.
One of the first ways, then, we can lead our families wisely, is to first lead ourselves to the feet of Jesus. This enables us to lead our children well, because we are leading them out of the life of Jesus in us, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
- Remember your emotional well-being is contagious
Long before kids can understand, they can feel. Whether our kids are newborns or teenagers, they sense what they may not be to make sense of. Right now, when there is a lot of fear and insecurity floating around, we can lead our family wisely by demonstrating a confidence and assurance because we trust God. This kind of fruit creates security and safety in our children.
Maybe this looks like being careful of how much we have the news on. Perhaps it is limiting the time we are on social media or allowing our kids to be on social media. Or it could be choosing to be more thoughtful about when or how we have conversations about the virus.
Remember that your fear as a parent can become your child’s fear. And likewise, your faith can become your child’s faith. Our emotional well-being is contagious.
- Establish new rhythms
In a time when families are together more often because of school/church closings, this is a great opportunity to establish new rhythms. Or become more consistent with already established rhythms.
Just as our country, schools, churches, and communities need good leadership, so do our families. Our kids need to be led toward the truth of God’s Word and His promises. We believe the Bible teaches that the family is one of the primary vehicles for passing on faith (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). And so, this is a great opportunity to establish the rhythm of family devotions, prayer, and worship at home.
The question is never whether our kids are being discipled; the question is always, “Who are we allowing to disciple our children?” We need to be intentional, thoughtful, consistent, and of course, dependent on God’s grace. We need to take seriously God’s command to lead our families spiritually.
Our goal, with the help of God’s Spirit, is to cultivate in our children, a heart that loves God and walks in His ways. Family discipleship is a combination of learning, watching, and doing. But it always starts with who we are as parents.
- Lead your kids into mission
In any crisis, there is a tendency to run and hide. We can be tempted to withdraw or isolate ourselves. And certainly, with an infectious disease, there are necessary times and ways we must do this – regardless of how sincere we might be.
But this is also a critical time for the church to be the church. This is an opportunity before us, to show sacrificial love and generosity to those around us. While living on mission as a family ought to be the norm in the Christian life, it often isn’t. And during the coming weeks or months, we can lead our family by looking for simple and practical ways to bless those in our church, neighborhood, or community.
In this way, we are showing our kids that following Jesus really is the best way to live! It is the good life. The abundant life (John 10:10).
- Keep pointing your kids to Jesus
And lastly, we need to keep pointing our kids to Jesus. We serve a God who came among us in the flesh. He suffered in our place. He died that we might live. One day, He is returning to renew and restore all things. Heaven is our future.
And right now, when everything seems scary or uncertain, none of it is scary to Him! Jesus has it under control.
We need to remind our kids often of our need for Jesus. Apart from Him, there is no salvation, no real peace, no real joy, and no real hope. But with Jesus, everything changes. When we know Jesus, nothing can separate us from His love. There is no fear. He’s already conquered death. And He is with us now. Tomorrow. Even until the end (John 16:33).
As we keep our eyes on Jesus, let’s lead our children and lead them wisely. Whether our kids always tell us or not, they are looking for someone to follow. That someone is YOU! It’s me. It’s us as parents. I am praying for you and for your family – trusting that just like in all things, God is going to use this for our good and His glory.
Ruth and I also created this Step-by-Step Guide to Leading Your Family In Worship at Home. Click HERE to get yours.