After six weeks of stay-at-home, many parents and children’s workers feel stretched thin. Rev. Kathy Pittenger offers reassurance saying, “You are enough.”
Children’s Initiatives Coordinator, Michigan Conference
For many of us, we are in week six. Six weeks of having our children home from school. Six weeks of worshipping at home. Six weeks of uncertainty and unknowns. Some have been working from home. Some are essential workers (thank you!). Some are home with many more uncertainties.
Over the last six weeks, I have been blessed to hear from many working in children’s ministry. They are asking about what to do now and looking ahead. And while there are still many unknowns and uncertainties, the two things I am finding myself saying over and over is, “you are enough,” and “extend yourself and those around you lots of grace.”
You are enough! You are trying to figure out working (at home or outside the home) with schooling at home and being a short-order cook along with all the normal responsibilities of adulting. If being at home with the kids all day was already your norm, this is still different – no playgroups or playgrounds (among all the other things). It is ok to give yourself a break so that you can be a “good enough” parent. Our kids need to know they are loved and have their basic needs met.
Reach out if you need help (while maintaining physical distancing). Give yourselves, and your children grace. Many of us are experiencing grief, and that looks different depending on the day and depending on your age. As e-learning is starting, kids may go through another round of grief – the reality that they won’t get to go back to their physical school building this year and see their friends and teachers.
Your church may be sending home activities and Bible lessons and ways that you can form faith at home. Try to incorporate these practices in your family’s life, not as just another thing to do, but as a way to build and continue your firm foundation on God.
Say a prayer before meals or as you brush your teeth or read a Bible story before bed. Go on a nature scavenger hunt, and thank God for the beauty you see in your world. Try a new spiritual practice like praying in color or prayer beads or prayer walks or one of the many other creative ways that your family can be in connection with God. You always have been and always will be the primary faith-former of your child/children. Embrace that not as another thing to do, but as a blessing. And when the days are too much, extend grace. Parents, you are enough.
To Christian Education/Children’s Ministry Leaders
I have spoken with many of you over the last several weeks for encouragement and ideas. I know you miss the kids in your church. I know some of you have been able to Zoom or Facebook Live or connect in another way. Seeing one another’s faces is important if you have that ability.
Continue to focus on relationships. Make a phone call or send a card. Now is also an excellent time to focus on the essentials – focus on relationship over content. For some of you, all this technology is new. Practice with it. Extend yourself grace. Even the top tech people stumble sometimes!
I know we have missed palm parades and Easter egg hunts. We are grieving that this may not be a typical summer. We aren’t sure if we can have VBS this summer or maybe it will just look different. Give yourself a moment to remember that you are enough. Whatever you need to do this spring and summer, give yourself and those around you grace. I know you are doing the best you can with what you have. You are enough.
You may be enjoying every moment of this time at home! Or you may miss your friends at school terribly. Your emotions may be all over the place! You may love your parents and be tired of them at the same time! Be gentle with yourself. Try to be gentle with your parents and siblings and pets. It’s hard to be in the same space with one another for long amounts of time. Reach out to your pastor or kids min leader or Sunday School teacher from church or your teacher from school or your friends. Remember, you are loved.
Be gentle with yourself, give yourself grace, take a break when you need it (even adults need a time out sometimes), and remember that you are enough. God loves you. Reach out to a friend, your church, or a helpline if you need it. Check in with a neighbor or family member. Pray.
God loves you, and you are enough.
Last Updated on April 20, 2020