Our kids are watching. How we respond to this crazy season is going to impact how they respond to any crisis in their own lives for decades to come.
No pressure, Mom and Dad. But you’ve got a bit of a balancing act to do. You need to protect your family which means being firm and authoritarian. While at the same time, expressing optimism and hope. One strategy would be to see this season as a gift. Is that too hard to imagine?
One of my favorite questions to ask when I consider any significant life event is, “How is God going to use this?” If you’re a person of faith, you know He can and will eventually bring good out of all our experiences. The Bible tells us, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
We may not see God’s ultimate purpose for a long time. Still, in the midst of the global battle against COVID-19, let’s expect to find a glimmer of hope.
If your kids are older and you’re up for a serious theological debate, go ahead and tackle the ponderous question of why the coronavirus—or any natural disaster—sweeps across our land. But for most parents, simply taking advantage of this time to engage your kids in a new way should be considered a great victory. With that in mind, here are ten unexpected ways to connect with your kids.
1. Pull out your old yearbook . . . and let them laugh at you.
2. Pull out your old albums (on vinyl, 8-track, cassette, or CD). Play your favorite classics and scrutinize the lyrics. If you concede that some lyrics are a little nasty, you may find yourself in an interesting conversation.
3. Play hopscotch. (If you step on a line with your giant feet, you lose!)
4. Teach your son or daughter some mad skill you learned decades ago. Consider ukulele, harmonica, juggling, spinning a basketball, twisting balloon animals, nunchucks, Rubik’s cubing, playing the spoons, hanging a spoon from your nose, drawing caricatures, whistling with your fingers, identifying some constellations, reciting the alphabet backwards, learning the ASL alphabet, shadow puppets, moonwalking, or anything else you mastered in your youth but your kids never knew you could do.
5. Commit to learning one or two of the above mad skills together!
6. Have them choose ANY color and let them paint their bedroom. (Giving you the chance to teach them all about the importance of prep, masking, patching, drop cloths, brush and roller technique, and cleanup.)
7. Let them teach you all the best tricks and strategies of their favorite video game.
8. Look for silly (or deep) poems online: “Casey at the Bat,” “Jabberwocky,” “My Shadow,” “Purple Cow,” “We Real Cool,” “In Flanders Field,” “The Road Not Taken,” or anything by Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutksy, Robert Frost, or Gwendolyn Brooks.
9. Make stilts. (When your fourth grader elevates ten inches they’ll be looking you in the eye!)
10. Brainstorm ideas for a family vacation for when this thing is over.
Dad and Mom, when you look back at 2020, I hope you see this crazy season as a time that brought your family closer than ever. That’s why I created the FREE DOWNLOAD for parents, 10 Ways to Engage Your Kids During Quarantine. (It’s different from the above list.)
Many of you have already downloaded this sourcebook. Many have recommended it to friends or to your own children who are home with your grandkids. As a gramps myself, that idea tickles my heart. The best way to share it might be to simply forward this email. Go for it!
Keep at it, Mom and Dad.