Parenting During A Crisis
When I was in tenth grade, my family’s life changed overnight. We were missionaries in a county in Africa when a civil war broke out. Rebel soldiers were advancing on the capital city where we lived, leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake.
Embassies evacuated all their citizens. Friends from school left with no warning. Our family packed up a few suitcases and took a flight out of the country. We never returned.
As chaotic as this was, I look back on that experience and remember one key thing: I felt safe. Not so much physically safe, because my parents couldn’t guarantee that, but rather, emotionally safe. Somehow, in the midst of danger and upheaval, my parents did a great job of helping my sister and me feel secure. This in turn helped me experience God as a safe place during a crisis.
Here we are, years later, and coronavirus has changed all of our lives almost overnight. Wouldn’t it be great if years down the road, our kids look back on this time and their overarching memory is that they felt safe even in the midst of the chaos and confusion?
Even though we were dealing with a scary situation and many unknowns, here are the things my parents did to make my sister and myself feel safe.
They communicated honestly.
My parents never hid the truth from us. They were honest about what was going on, giving us as much information as was age-appropriate about the siutation. Knowing the truth made me feel secure.
They communicated calmly.
My parents weren’t hysterical. They were calm. Seeing them stay calm gave me a sense that things were going to be okay.
They communicated often.
I remember having lots of conversations. When plans were made or changed, we talked about it. I always knew what was happening. That brought me security.
They communicated God’s truth.
Most importantly, they helped my sister and me feel safe by constantly sharing God’s truth with us. We knew that God was with us, and that even if something terrible happened and we lost our lives, we would be with Him forever. They helped us frame our circumstances in light of God’s truth.
During this pandemic, I’ve been thinking a lot about the example my parents set. I pray that in the years to come, my own children can look back on this as a time that they felt safe because my husband and I communicated honestly, calmly, and often. And most importantly, that we pointed them to God’s truth.
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