We may well be living through the most historic period of our lives. Future history books, medical journals, treatises on economics, and studies of political systems will recount the Global Pandemic of 2020.
Years from now, our kids will share with their kids the story of the months when school stopped. They will tell about the time when there were no sports and when the Olympic Games were postponed.
Even now, we are holding our pens writing the stories of our families during this unique time in history.
The gift of time
In the midst of the adversities and challenges that come with a global pandemic, “safer at home” orders, and widespread quarantine, many of us have received a rare gift: the gift of time.
Admittedly, some people are busier now than ever. Many medical and supply chain professionals are working overtime (my prayer for the Lord’s protection is with them). Amongst their many daily tasks, moms and dads of school-aged children are taking on the role of teacher.
But for many of us, we are finding additional pockets of time. We are not commuting to jobs and are potentially working less in general. Likewise, our kids have newly discovered, unstructured time.
Time: spend it or invest it
One of the most innovative football coaches of our era is Chip Kelly, the head coach at UCLA. Coach Kelly was formerly the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and the University of Oregon.
When asked what is the most important factor for success, he said: “You can either spend your time or invest [it]….We all have 24 hours in the same day, and it’s what you want to do. If you want to go play video games and watch TV and do all those other things, you’re going to get beat out by the guy [who] is doing the little things that are going to make the difference between making the team and not making the team.”
While we may not be competing to make a team, as moms and dads, we have an innate desire to be the parents who God has called us to be. Now, more than ever, we have a resource of time that we can either invest or lose.
When I look back, I want to be sure that I did not squander this period in history.
Model what you want to teach
Have you given thought to what you want your children to learn during quarantine? Is there something specific you want to teach them? More importantly, is there something you want to model so that they see it in your life?
Maybe this is a time when you teach your kids how to mow the yard, plant shrubs and flowers, or replace a sprinkler head.
Maybe this is a time when they learn how to do the laundry, how to cook, how to sew, how to change a tire, or how to change a lightbulb.
Maybe this is a time when you share your favorite movie, favorite verse in the Bible, a story about a family member who they have never met, or an adversity you overcame.
Your evenings at the dinner table may be more relaxed and longer than usual. Are you intentional about the questions you ask and the conversations you have?
With less clutter and busyness in your mind, are you committed to really listening to what your kids are saying? Are they seeing you act with compassion to others in your community who are at risk? Better yet, are they involved in acts of service by your side?
The secret sauce
My wife and I have three teenage boys. We are striving to be intentional to connect with and mentor each of them in a specific way.
They are at different stages, have different interests, and sometimes need different things. In my mind, the secret sauce is giving intention and forethought to what those specific needs are and how we can best impart or model them.
Quarantine seems like the perfect time to model and discuss relying on God. Our kids will learn more from who we are and from what we do than from what we say. We are using this gift of time to pray more as a family and thank God for his provision and intercession.
Sharpen the saw
As parents, this is also a great time to sharpen the saw. It’s a time to give thought to our own relationship with God and his calling for our lives. It’s a time to ponder how our life is in alignment with that calling.
It’s a time to be intentional about growing as a parent. And it’s a time to be prayerful over our children and the world they are in.
This is a unique time. It is a historic time. When it is over, I want to look back and be sure I was faithful with the time God gave my family and me. With God’s grace, I want my kids to be just a little bit different, a little wiser than were when this all started. I want to be sure this time with my kids is invested and not just spent.