If you’re parenting during COVID-19 you’re probably thinking about keeping your children safe, allaying their fears, explaining what’s happening, helping them adjust, finding things to do, figuring out how to lower the stress levels in your home, and much more. It’s not easy. You’re juggling practical, emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns. And even though you’re doing your best, you’re occasionally caught off guard.
Which raises an important question: While there are many things to consider during COVID-19, what’s the most important thing?
Now I don’t ask the question to raise your level of stress, but to lower it. Knowing what your number one priority should be during the pandemic should help you set aside the trivial and do what’s urgent. As the German literary figure, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wisely reminds us, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
So what matters most? What is the one thing you should be doing over every other thing?
One thing. The phrase “one thing” is used sixteen times in the Scriptures. There is one thing God wants you to do regardless of your circumstances. In the story of Mary and Martha (cf. Luke 10:38-42) Jesus spoke tenderly to Martha saying, “You are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary” (ESV) and Mary has chosen that one thing! And what is the one thing? To focus on a person – to meet with Jesus.
Is COVID-19 distracting you from this one thing? While handwashing, social distancing and staying at home are important things, they’re not the most important thing. The most important thing for you and your family is spending time with Jesus.
Jesus must be your main concern, not the virus. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. Note the phrase “we fix our eyes.” This is why you’re a parent – to make Jesus the highest priority for your family. In the midst of all the pandemic worries, distractions, challenges, uncertainties, and difficulties, do one thing well – help your children see Jesus.
Parenting during COVID-19 is an incredible opportunity to connect your children with Jesus – maybe in a way that you’ve never done before. However, it won’t happen ad hoc. Focusing on Jesus takes planning and intentionality. Here are a few primers to help you get started:
- Invite your children to open their lives to Jesus. To receive Him your children have to believe in Him (cf. John 1:12). They can’t know Jesus if they resist Him. Faith ushers Jesus into the home.
- Introduce table talk. Mealtimes are great opportunities to have conversations about the things that matter most. Tell your children they need to bring their Bibles and their brains to the table. Explore the Gospels together because this is where Jesus is seen most clearly.
- Open up. Let your children see you being real with God. Are you worried about COVID-19? Pray about it with your children. Do you want to help your children overcome fear and anxiety linked to the pandemic? Memorize Deuteronomy 31:8, Psalm 27:1, John 14:27, or 2 Timothy 1:7 together with your children.
- Replace some of the things your family is reading or watching with Jesus-centered resources. We think about what we see and hear. Draw your children to Jesus by filling your home with stories, songs, and movies about Him.
- Be an example. More is caught than taught. Words can be effective, but actions are more effective. When your words are endorsed by your actions, it forms a powerful statement about your family’s value system. So live for Jesus every day, not only through what you say but also through what you do.
COVID-19 Parenting Resources
5 Steps to Fearless Parenting in the Wake of Coronavirus – https://www.crosswalk.com/family/parenting/steps-to-fearless-parenting-in-the-wake-of-coronavirus.html
7 COVID-19 Myths Busted by an M.D. Mom – https://www.crosswalk.com/family/parenting/covid-19-myths-busted-by-an-md-mom.html
7 Tips When Talking To Kids About Coronavirus – https://au.thegospelcoalition.org/article/7-tips-when-talking-to-kids-about-coronavirus/
7 Traits of Effective Parenting During the Coronavirus Outbreak – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pPF_QXWkP8
Children’s Ministry During COVID-19 – https://network.crcna.org/childrens-ministry/childrens-ministry-and-covid-19
COVID-19 – How Should We Respond – https://scriptureunion.global/covid-19/
Family Conversations About God – file:///C:/Users/Lawson/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/CCB8GDC9/Godversations.pdf
Family.Fit – https://family.fit/
F.A.M.I.L.Y Worship During COVID-19 – https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/march/family-worship-during-covid-19.html
How to Help Our Kids Deal with Fears About the Coronavirus – https://www.awana.org/2020/03/17/how-to-help-our-kids-deal-with-fears-about-the-coronavirus/
How to Talk to Children About the Coronavirus – https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/children-coronavirus/
How to Talk to Your Kids about COVID-19 – https://www.wheaton.edu/media/humanitarian-disaster-institute/Tip-Sheet-How-to-Talk-to-Your-Kids-About-Coroavirus.pdf
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus – https://network.crcna.org/family-ministry/talking-kids-about-coronavirus
Talking With Kids About The Coronavirus – https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/talking-with-kids-about-the-coronavirus/
© Scripture Union, 2020