MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, April 20th. Good morning! You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we are glad you are! I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Families with young children unexpectedly at home these days need an extra measure of grace. Here’s WORLD commentator Trillia Newbell.
TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: The sound of the movie Inside Out plays in the background while my young daughter kneels on the floor, drawing on a sketch-pad lifting her head slightly from time to time to glance quickly toward the television.
My son sits at the kitchen table, reading through one of his many books, wondering whether or not he’ll ever get to meet his buddy at the park again.
These are the scenes of a typical summer’s day. But it isn’t summer. Right now my kids are out of school. They’ve been out since March 6th, and we just learned our school district will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
In a minute I will get them started on a thrown-together but earnest attempt at homeschooling. It’s mostly meant to keep their minds busy with something besides screens.
For some stay-at-home or homeschooling parents, this might feel a bit like business as usual. But for those of us who work part-time, full-time, or send our children to school, this change affects almost every aspect of our daily lives. These changes also can tempt many of us to compare, fear, and disparage one another for our different approaches to handling this crisis.
The moment the safer-at-home orders began, so did the advice. Moms took to social media to share a highlight reel of their daily routines—many comical.
But after about two weeks of this, I began to see evidence of people wearing thin. The once-whimsical article became a burden, even a threat. The mom who shared her productivity was now seen as someone attempting to shame the mom who simply struggled to get out of bed.
There’s a possibility that those sharing their ideas could very well be attempting to lay a heavy burden on parents who aren’t able to maintain as much structure. Maybe they’re trying to post. But, more likely, I imagine the people giving tips and ideas genuinely want to help.
Ultimately, we can’t fully know the motives of others. What we can control is our responses to them. We can learn to think the best of our neighbor. Whether it’s creativity or administration, that person is reflecting the creator God.
And God gave us good gifts, too. We’d hate it if someone thought the absolute worst of us just because we are using the gifts God gave us.
We can also learn when it’s time to unplug. For some, social media and blogs aren’t often bothersome. For others, these things tempt us to envy, anger, and a host of other sin.
Here’s the thing: no one has to engage in it. If it’s a temptation—flee.
Right now, more than any time I’ve ever known, may be the best time to extend grace to everyone. Give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt. I’m not going to add any pressure on myself, but I’m not going to judge my brothers and sisters who might.
We are all just trying to do our best. May that draw us all together in this common fight.
I’m Trillia Newbell.