How to Care for Your Children During Times of Uncertainty
Parents, let’s pause for a moment and have a real-life chat.
If you have mini-humans in your home chances are you have had conversations about topics you never thought you would find yourself in the middle of. If you have little ones, they may ask, “why?” a million times a day. Our children look to us for guidance and to help inform them of their surroundings. As they grow, the topics of conversation and their depth change. This is not a signal to cut off communication, it is an invitation to proactively talk with our children. We can invite them to process their thoughts with us. They are watching us; listening and hearing far more than we give them credit for. Let’s not forget, they are also watching others, listening and hearing from other sources as well.
I’ll be honest, it is not always easy to find the balance between protecting our children and equipping them for real-life circumstances. We don’t want to paint them a picture that life is perfect and without trials. Yet, staying silent and ignoring circumstances does not serve them either. We, however, can guide them with the promises we find in scripture.
Globally we find ourselves on a large scale of uncharted territory. Our homes are filled with information and unknowns that may be difficult for us, as adults, to process. May I remind you again, your children are listening and watching you. They may be feeling the stress and tension in your home. Maybe you are temporarily working from home. Schooling may look different. The family budget might need some rearranging. Our kids are also processing these changes. Let’s take this opportunity to talk with them; draw them out. I don’t know your children like you do, so I cannot tell you to what depth or which details to include in your conversations. That is something you can ask the Lord for guidance on.
We not only want to help equip our children to process information informed by the promises of scripture, but we also want to provide a platform to share their thoughts, emotions, fears, concerns, indifference, apathy, etc. Ask them. Don’t assume you know their answers. Give them time to process and think out loud. Affirm that they are sharing in a safe environment. What are they feeling? What are some things they have heard about on the news, social media or from their friends? Do they agree or disagree? What have they heard that they are unsure about? Are there any words they heard that they don’t know the definition of? Do they have any questions about why home-life looks different (parents working from home, kids schooling from home, events cancelled, etc.)? Be sure to listen with the intention of hearing them, not with the intention of preparing your next response. Use this as an opportunity to open up a conversation.
Take time, together, to look up God’s promises in scripture. In times of uncertainty, it is easy for us as adults to forget His promises. We don’t have the mind of God. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. That’s not to instill fear, but to remind us that we have never been in control. By contrast, God has, is, and will always be in control. (Hebrews 13:8) For those that have a relationship with Christ, He promises to never leave us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) He also promises to provide for our needs. (Philippines 4:11-13, Matthew 6:25-34) We may have some pretty tangible concerns about job security, schooling or food. One reminder my husband, Eric, shares with me; even if our greatest fears become reality, God does not cease to be God. Even in the midst of doubt, God is faithful. (2 Timothy 2:13)
My husband encourages our family during this time by giving us his personal charge, “I want to spread faith, not fear.” Shouldn’t that be true for all of us? The world is screaming for us to walk in fear. It will be screaming at our children to walk in fear. We have Hope, Peace, and Love that the world doesn’t know. Let’s remind one another and our children of Whose we are so we can link arms together and spread faith in the God who made us and knows us. (Psalm 139)
Take time together with your kids to pray. Encourage them to pray aloud. We not only want to refocus our minds on God’s promises together, but to thank Him for those promises. We can confess that we, as parents and children, may have given in to fear and forgotten that God is the One in control. We can also ask God to help us see those around us – those that need to hear about God’s promises as well as those that need physical and tangible help. We, as families, can submit our thoughts to our Father and worship Him, together. (Psalm 95:6)
Our children are a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). They belong to Him, but we are given the honor of being their earthly caretakers. We are instructed by God to train them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). Let us take our responsibility seriously and steward the time together well. May we lead our children by seeking and trusting God even in the midst of uncertainty. As parents, we should be the ones to continually pursue and encourage our children to do likewise.