March Madness has a whole new meaning! Regardless of what you believe about what is really going on with COVID-19, we find ourselves in the middle of an unprecedented moment in modern history. This will be a defining moment for many generations to come and will likely even make it into the history books.
Each of us have a choice to make in the coming days—to let fear and panic rule our emotions and actions, or to remain rooted, grounded, and focused on what is most important. This doesn’t mean we don’t take practical steps to ensure the safety of our families and those around us; it just means we refuse to give up our inner peace despite what may be taking place around us.
I recently heard a friend say, “Busy is the new stupid!” It’s true. Our lives have become so busy that we often fail to be intentional in our role as parents. We have “sub-contracted” nearly everything out to someone else: education to the public school system; spiritual development to the institutional church; and entertainment to technology—putting phones and tablets in the hands of our children. Gone are the days of parents teaching their children their work/trade, how to cultivate the land, cook, sew, and many other practical skills, not to mention how to handle their emotions and where to turn in moments of stress and anxiety.
This is our moment in history to take a hard look at what we have been doing and take inventory of how we spend our time. In my book, Leader Farming, I talk about having a seasonal growth mindset. I believe God designed this world to operate in seasons; spring, summer, fall and winter all have their purpose. Here in America, we’ve been in a perpetual harvest season for a very long time. Many of us even subconsciously believe and expect every quarter to be bigger and better than the one before. However, nature tells us that it is inevitable for winter to always come after fall.
As we brace for winter, it can be easy to grow discouraged. Many of us found ourselves in winter seasons in our lives and businesses this past week, with little warning. Rather than allowing fear to rule our minds and take us into a state of despair, let’s ask ourselves some tough questions. As the trees demonstrate each fall, what needs to fall to the ground in our lives and die/decay to provide nutrients for future growth? As we enter this winter season, what looks like it is dead on the surface, but is actually just dormant? What is taking place beneath the surface? How can we deepen our root systems to become better rooted and grounded to weather the seasons of life?
We have a unique opportunity to do some things differently in the coming days and grow closer to those closest to us. We have the opportunity to create lasting memories for our children. Make this a time where they remember how much time you spent together, not your level of fear and anxiety.
C.S. Lewis was 40 years old when World War II began. He initially offered to serve in the British military, but his offer was rejected. After the war, when much of the world lived in fear of someone else getting hold of nuclear technology and creating a bomb that could be used on them, he said the following:
“The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs.”
These words from 1948 ring just as true for us today. Rather than constantly thinking about the worst case scenario with the coronavirus, take necessary precautions and then step outside of your head. Here are a few ideas of things you can do with your family:
Learn to be a family again — Eat meals together instead of on the go; spend quality time together.
Learn to play again — Limit technology and the urge to binge-watch Netflix or, worse, the news. Play board games, get outside (in your yard) and get some fresh air. Teach your kids to build a fort!
Learn something new and/or teach our kids — Cooking, cleaning, laundry, balancing a checkbook, any skill that will set help them contribute to the home and set them up for “adulting” later on in life. This is a good time to get caught up on chores around the house!
Focus on what you can control — We can’t always control our circumstances but we can control how we respond. Choose strength and courage; do the right thing. We will all have to make sacrifices in the coming days.
Pray together as a family — Show you kids where you turn for strength in times of uncertainty.
Zach Thomas is an entrepreneur, Chick-fil-A franchisee, business/life coach, public speaker, blogger, and author of Leader Farming: Growing Leaders to Grow Your Business. His next book, Pioneer Parenting: A Guide for Raising Kids in Uncharted Territory, is expected to release in 2020. Download a free preview chapter at www.pioneerparenting.org/about.