This is probably the first time that almost the whole world has come to a standstill as a result of the current Pandemic. We can see it’s various ill effects all around, particularly the emotional struggles which many are facing – fear, anxiety, worry, loneliness, depression etc.
Apart from this existing turmoil and coping with several commitments, parents now have the added responsibility of frequently managing their children’s emotional and physical needs.
In the case of most families, since your kids would attend school, tuitions and then play outdoors, there was a calmness to some extent at home. However, since that has now changed (temporarily), you are presumably finding yourself quite disgruntled; at least my wife and I have found that to be true with some of our friends.
I sympathise with you and agree there is no easy solution to all this chaos you are experiencing.
In this article, I want to share some valuable lessons we’ve been able to teach our children through this pandemic lockdown period, and hope you find them helpful too.
1. Life is Precious, make the most of it.
For most of our kids, this may be the first time that they hear news of deaths so very often through news channels and conversation with people. Our boys started observing this too and began asking tough questions.
It is during such times that we realise how precious life is. We think of all the things we would like to do before we die, the places we would like to visit, the different kinds of food we would like to taste etc. The thought of departing from this world without having to experience such sights, sensations and wonders could disappoint us.
In all this restlessness and chaos, we’ve been talking and reflecting on life together with our boys. We discuss about how fleeting certain moments are in our lives, the value of making unforgettable memories, making the most of the opportunities we have, and being thankful for the little things each day.
We also point out the fact that when man indulges in undesirable and harmful habits like drugs, addiction, violence, pornography, and so on, we can lose sight of what is precious, never discover our true potential and purpose and, fail to enjoy this amazing life.
Technology is helpful but using it excessively and also for the wrong reasons, is a waste of time and should never replace time with family, friends and building community.
“It’s amazing to see the beauty of the world. It’s so beautiful and so brutal. It’s a reminder that every second of life is precious.” – Sally Green
2. Live Responsibly
Our boys have also been querying a lot about this Pandemic. As parents, we do our best to help them understand that such Pandemic and other significant crises we experience is the result of people sometimes living irresponsibly.
Pandemic, Global warming, disasters, wars and other crisis is what makes this world broken. And it all began with our ancestors who made the wrong decisions, thereby altering God’s original design for us which was to live in peace, love and harmony.
These kinds of constructive discussions help children learn about responsible living, seek the good of all humans, not just the ones around us but also for the sake of our future generations. They become aware of the evil practices prevalent in society such as human trafficking, social injustice, inequality etc. and how they can help make a difference.
The world needs wise and courageous men and women to make the right choices, to make this world a better place, but unless we teach them to our children, they will never realise the importance of it.
“The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.” – Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
3. Community Matters
During this lockdown, one of the greatest vacuum we’re experiencing right now is the physical absence of family and friends in our life, as is the case with all of you, I’m sure. Generally, we always have our families, church folks, and other friends, coming over often to our house.
Humans are social animals created to learn and interact with each other. Few people, though take the idea of individualism to a whole different level where they isolate themselves from the world and live lonely lives in a vacuum, even if people surround them in office, at home, or in society.
The truth is we need each other to make this world a better place with our collaborative ideas and efforts, that’s how we’ve evolved so far, in the company of great men and women.
During this lockdown, we made our children realise the importance of relationships and the benefits of being part of healthy communities of like-minded people.
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” – Herman Melville
4. Seek the Truth, not the facade
If we are not careful, we can be misled by all the facade around us, a deceptive outer appearance which most of the time is far from the truth of life. This means we can live based on a limited understanding. It’s like looking at everything outside from a small little window of a closed room and assuming that that’s all life is about.
When we look at life from a subjective point of view, living in a cocoon and based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions, we can never experience life as it’s supposed to be.
A pandemic like this has brought many of us to question our subjective beliefs, the pillars we thought were strong enough to hold us seems like collapsing right in front of our eyes – education, jobs, businesses. Our life can be taken away from us in a moment, and everything that we think can sustain and hold us, doesn’t seem that solid any more.
I don’t mean to say that none of these is important and we don’t have to pursue it. They are absolutely necessary but not to the point of being consumed by it and depending only for these as our security. They are definitely the ‘means’ but not the ‘end’.
Therefore, we thought it’s important to teach our boys to follow the truth and not the false facade of this perishing world, to ask questions about the existence of God, the purpose of life, discovering human nature, its strength and its flaws etc.
“To find truthful answers we must replace the search for answers with the search for truth.” – A.A. Alebraheem
5. Finding inner Peace is more Important
Given the present circumstances, it seems like a lot of things are beyond our control right now yet, we can still control our response to it, our attitude, what we say and how we say it.
If we’re fearful or stressed out ourselves, our children can easily pick it up from us. Although there might be panic all around, we can be the calm in all the chaos; not just for the sake of our children but more so because we know that anxiety will not change or eradicate the present but only worsen it.
It’s an opportunity to speak to our children about finding inner peace when their hearts seem restless. True peace that only comes from God, and not what the temporary, fleeting things that this world has to offer, alone can calm down our fear, doubt and sadness.
Thus, our children will not live in denial but will learn to accept what’s going on around them, manage stress and know how to deal with it.
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” —Saint Francis de Sales