by Dana Owen, Certified Counsellor, (McNaughton & Associates Counselling Inc.) full-time homeschooling mom, and wife of associate pastor Andy Owen
The letter below is from a professional Christian counsellor who is also the mother of two young children. She shares an assuring message from her deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, rich in practical wisdom drawn from God’s Word for families facing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
To those who may be older, let me suggest that this crisis could be your opportunity as family elders to be custodians of wisdom and calm in the name of Jesus, guiding and encouraging your grown children and extended family from the Strength you have come to know that is Christ.
-Dr. Don McNaughton
Hello church families,
I have been asked to share some encouragement with you during this strange and stressful season of the COVID-19 virus. A request to which I respond with great pleasure. I’m happy to share some thoughts on schooling at home with your children, and hopefully uplift your spirits as you embrace this time with faith.
First of all, let me remind you of our strong and mighty God, one who holds the heavens and the earth in His hands. He does not feel threatened by this pandemic, and we know that nothing can rattle Him. Remind yourselves and your children that God is always in full control. He does not get anxious and He does not make wrong decisions. He leads with confidence and clarity, and with such an everlasting love for us. The Bible tells us that nothing can thwart the plans of God. Nothing can change the good and holy plans that the Lord has for you or for your children. He has great and good things in store for them, His work never ends, and He is continually working in the lives of you and your children.
As I understand, your school will be delivering instruction to your children throughout this school closure. However, it will look rather different than what they are accustomed to. As you receive direction and lessons, I encourage you to do your best to guide your kids through the process of doing their lessons at home and online. For some, this might seem exciting and even easy. But some will find this challenging. What a time to show them your great patience and love.
As a homeschooling mom, I can offer a few ideas to help you navigate this season with your children home with you… all day.
- Read aloud. Research tells us that reading aloud to your children has a dramatic impact on their literacy. So, read aloud every day to your children. There are many books that children of different ages can all enjoy together. Read them scripture each morning, read stories, read classics, read poems, read fairy tales, read fables…have your children take turns each reading aloud to you or to the whole family. Enjoy this time together.
- Assigned reading. Each child should read for a time, a book all their own, on their own. There is nothing like a warm afternoon, sitting curled up in the sunshine, with a good book.
- Light their fire! This is a great time to find out more about the things that truly pique your child’s interest. Give them a chance to do some research either online or with some great books you have at home. Allow them the time to get to know a thing that inspires them, to learn more about something that excites them, or to grab on to something that is new to them. Have them tell you every single thing they could say about their special interest. The methods are endless…they can write paragraphs, sentences, poems, draw pictures, diagrams, sketch, paint, colour, create a play, write lyrics to a song, write music…the sky’s the limit. Have fun with it!
- Watch documentaries. Avoid allowing more screen time during this season. Use the screen time allotted for something educational. Most children find screens a fun way to learn.
- Introduce the fine arts. Get out the craft supplies and let them create their own Mona Lisa. Look up famous artists, poets, composers, etc. and talk about what your children notice in the paintings, and what they like or dislike about the poem or composition. Play Mozart or Vivaldi as you draw together.
- Something old, something new! This could be a great time to teach your children something that you’ve been doing for years, something that you could do with your eyes closed but that they have never yet tried. This year my daughter learned to fry the most glorious over-easy egg. I love to have her cook me breakfast. Take this time to teach your children some new skill that they will need for life.
- Be outdoors every day. For as much as we are able, let us get outdoors, enjoy the sunshine, breathe the fresh air, make forts and explore the forests, make snowmen with what I hope is the last of the snow, play outside!
- Take breaks. Parents, take small breaks when you need them. There is nothing shameful about standing inside your pantry eating a bite of dark chocolate.
In closing, I would like to encourage you as you support your children through this emotional time. Many of your children will feel a sense of loss in all of this. And they have lost – some of them activities and events they have planned and worked hard for; others have lost holidays or adventures that you’ve planned for them. Some may feel loss simply by the separation they face being away from teachers, friends, etc. In loss, children must find their tears. Allow them to have their time to grieve. Give them a chance to share with you how they feel. And when those tears have fallen, you will soon after discover that they begin to bounce back, they start to talk as if there is something else to do besides cry…and this is when you can provide your wonderful guidance to point them in the direction of something good.
Enjoy those children of yours. Our time with them is rather short-lived in the big picture. Sit down with them and enjoy your time together. Be close to them in the ways that speak to their hearts. They will one day thank you for it, I’m sure of it.
In Christ’s love,