What should children learn during COVID-19? With children restricted to their homes, people are scrambling to figure this out.
Why have things stopped?
There are all sorts of things children can learn during the pandemic, but what’s the most important thing? Educators say children should mainly learn language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy when schools are closed. Health and government authorities want them to learn about containment.
These things are necessary, but surely there’s more significant learning than the three R’s and restricting the spread of the virus. Author and preacher Francis Chan says, “Don’t you understand that there’s something about how right now, God just caused every single treadmill to stop?”
Why have things stopped? Kid’s ministry workers suggest that COVID-19 is a chance for children to memorize scripture verses, use discussion guides to jump into the Word, make Bible story videos, write cards of encouragement, and so on (online and at home). That’s well and good, but children were doing this before COVID-19. Would God call a halt simply for children to continue doing what they were doing?
Smell the roses.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for children to learn something unique about the world and themselves. Nineteenth-century Anglican theologian, J. C. Ryle said, “Trials are intended to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees.”
The aim during the pandemic shouldn’t be to get back to normal – normal wasn’t working. Children need a fresh lesson – to think in a new way. To think in a new way children must learn a new way of thinking.
Thinking is concentrating long enough on something in order to develop an idea about it. Developing an idea doesn’t happen quickly. Thinking happens best when we slow down. COVID-19 has slowed us down. Children don’t rush to extra-curricula activities, schoolwork is at a minimum, and spending time with friends, unless it’s through a device, is curbed.
Perhaps God’s stopped everyone running to compel us to change the way we think. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2. Note the phrase “renewing of your mind.” COVID-19, while it’s a scourge, may be a blessing to help our children renew their minds and fix their attention on God.
Help children separate themselves from the world.
When my mother wanted me to think about my actions or attitudes, she sent me to my room. I wonder if staying home is God’s way of sending us to our rooms to give us time and space to think about how we’ve become so well-adjusted to our culture that we’ve been fitting into it without giving it a second thought.
American pastor John Piper observes, “We are perfectly useless as Christians if all we do is conform to the world around us.” Maybe this is why the treadmill has been turned off: Children need to learn how to separate themselves from the world and set their minds on Jesus.
Is Jesus the focus of your children’s thinking. COVID-19 is a teachable moment. Isolation is teaching us insulation. See it for what it is. In God’s economy, social distancing is a spiritual object lesson to teach children how to detach themselves from the world.
Help children grab hold of Jesus.
Which raises another question: How is Jesus factoring into your “home-school” curriculum? To think straight and act right, children need Jesus. Here’s how you can help children grab hold of Jesus:
- Stop your child from walking in the ways of the world. The world is opposed to God and excludes God (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:17, 1 Peter 1:14, 1 John 2:15-17). Children can’t think like Jesus if they’re living the way the world lives. If children are going to think like Jesus, Jesus must govern their thinking.
- Teach your child to think biblically. To set their minds on Jesus, children must major in one book – the Bible. Transformation of the mind happens from the outside in – through reading, reflecting, and remembering the Word. [To learn how to engage with the Bible, read Bible Engagement Basics]
- Encourage your child to invite Jesus to renew his/her heart. Transformation of the mind happens from the outside in and from the inside out. If the heart isn’t humbled, it darkens the understanding (cf. Ephesians 4:17-18). To think right, a child’s heart must be right (cf. Luke 6:45).
Let’s not miss this window of opportunity. Today is the day of salvation (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:2). Children will probably never go through a pandemic like this again. If you’re a teacher, pastor, parent or grandparent; use this time to do everything possible to teach children how to separate themselves from the world and set their minds on Jesus.
esAACS – https://www.aacs.org/covid-19/
Back to God Ministries – https://backtogod.net/churches/resources-covid-19
Faith Formation Ministries – https://network.crcna.org/childrens-ministry/childrens-ministry-and-covid-19
The Gospel Coalition – https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/
Scripture Union – https://scriptureunion.global/covid-19/
© Scripture Union, 2020