Gratitude and honesty during the coronavirus? Why not!
I think often about how my children are watching me and how my choices now influence their choices now and later. That’s not instinctive awareness on my part; it’s how God has opened my eyes over time. Plus, it’s the wisdom wise parents have passed along.
Gratitude for all the not-so-little things
How many times have you encouraged your children to be grateful? A lot? Me, too! And, so, knowing that I want to model gratitude in the good times and the not-so-good times, I’ve been thinking about all that I’m grateful for despite how the coronavirus pandemic is changing our lives. Here’s a short list of what I’m grateful for:
- Health. We’re well. Everyone can’t say this. In fact, I’m thinking about the people who are not only afraid of or suffering with the coronavirus but also those who were already sick with cancer and other debilitating diseases. We are experiencing just a small taste of what they experience daily.
- Income. Mine and Stephen’s work is not being drastically impeded, and barring unforeseen circumstances, we’ll continue earning income. What though of people who, even if they could find bread, eggs, and toilet paper in the stores, can’t afford to buy it because they can’t pay for it? They’ve lost their jobs and face an uncertain financial future.
- Rest. Social distancing is strange to me, and yet, I’m grateful for the rest of being at home. I’m still working from home, but everything feels way slower than normal. I like it!
- Hope. As much curiosity as I have about how this is all going to play out, I feel hopeful. Some people might say, “of course you do, you have not known great need.” They’re right. And, my hope comes from a greater Source. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…” I trust this because I’ve seen God work things out over and over again, just like I trust He is working out the complexities of the coronavirus.
Honesty with our children
Our children are old enough to understand life is different right now. Beyond their general awareness, though, Stephen and I are using the unavoidable realities of the pandemic to model honesty for our children because that’s another important character- and relationship-building tool they’ll need now and down the road. Here’s how:
- Honesty about our own questions. We’ve got a ton of questions about this whole thing. Fortunately, our children aren’t asking the same questions. In response to the questions they do have, we answer what we can, and for the answers we don’t have, we simply say so. “I don’t know if school will go back to normal this school year; we’ll have to wait and see.” We are also using this opportunity to further teach our children, “we don’t always have the answers in life, and that’s ok.”
- Honesty about our reliance on God. We’re also using this as an opportunity to further model our trust in God. We rely on and share with our children scripture such as Joshua 1:9, which says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Another favorite is John 14:27, which says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” In addition to sharing scripture, we pray for calm and for wisdom. Hopefully, these seeds of faith will embed deeply into our children’s hearts and minds so they’re able to withstand future trials.
- Honesty about our feelings. And of course, now we’re at home. Together. A lot. This means lots of opportunities to get on each other’s nerves! In response, Stephen and I are trying to model patience and kindness. We’re also trying to model calm and clear communication. So, instead of yelling things like, “you guys are driving me crazy, stop it,” we’re trying to calmly say things like, “we all need to calm down just a bit, take some deep breaths, and work together.” We’re also calling time-outs more often to allow everyone space and time to reset emotionally. Hopefully, these practices help us as a family now and later to be aware of our individual feelings, sensitive to each other’s feelings, and willing to treat each other with grace under fire.
Do it yourself
Mine and Dr. Chapman’s book, The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts is all about parents taking the lead and D-I-Y’ing (doing it ourselves) so that our children might follow our lead in building and contributing to a healthy home life. Showing more gratitude and being more honest and supportive of each other are important DIY types of efforts. When we all look back on the coronavirus of 2019-2020, I hope you and I will remember that, despite the tough times, we kept moving forward…with gratitude and honesty…and all the other positive steps families take to grow together.
Before you go, take a minute to comment on what you’re grateful for and/or how you’re being honest with yourself and with your family during these challenging times.
Thanks for reading!
PS: Visit my website www.shannonwarden.com and take the free Home Life Inspection Quiz. It’s fast and free and will help you think some about which areas of your home life are great and which areas could use a little work.
Also, check out mine and Dr. Chapman’s interviews with Focus on the Family. We’re talking about the DIY book and giving lots of encouragement and tips related to parenting.