Coronavirus can’t cancel summer fun

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, June 10th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. 

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.

Perhaps your email inbox is full of summer event cancelations: sports camps, family vacations, reunions. For many, it seems that “summer’s been canceled.”

But WORLD correspondent Emily Whitten says, there are plenty of creative alternatives if you take the time to look.

NEWSCAST: Nashville’s public pools will be allowed to open in phase two of the mayor’s reopening plan…

EMILY WHITTEN, CORRESPONDENT: Here in Nashville, the public pools are open—some of the time. And at least one church denomination is holding camp—for now. But many doors remain slammed shut.

One closed door affecting our family—summer employment.

My girls often babysit, but with so many parents at home, there’s not much need for babysitters this year. Other teens I know can’t do their usual work as counselors at church camps or life-guards at the pool.

Some humility and creativity may be helpful if your kids are in similar situations. A couple of teens I know will be serving up fast food. One nephew, a hand’s-on sort, started a business cleaning car headlights. 

Crafty teens may want to give Etsy or Ebay a try. We know several young ladies who make spending money by selling handwritten Bible verses or other calligraphy projects.

What about recreation?

Our public library’s front doors remain locked, but we can now pick up books at a few locations around town. Even better, we can still access rows of free audiobooks at Mixed with unappetizing newer books, families will find excellent versions of classics like The Jungle Book and Sherlock Holmes stories. Here’s a clip from their version of C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters read by Ralph Cosham:

COSHAM: There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. 

Book lovers with younger children may appreciate This website offers videos of professional actors reading picture books, many of which are classics or high quality. Here’s a clip from Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog:

WHITE: Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything except getting a bath. So, one day when he heard the water running in the tub…

For families missing summer camp, I suggest a couple of things. First, ask your kids what they miss the most. Then try to recreate a few of those favorite elements closer to home.

For instance, I know one young man disappointed by the cancellation of Boy Scout camp this summer. His survival training didn’t prepare him for this eventuality! But it’s not all bad news. He can still do some local camping and hiking with a few friends. And we hope to invite his family over for a backyard bonfire with chin-dripping smores and storytelling late into the night. 

Some families may also find online courses or camps helpful. My oldest planned to attend a sports camp for the first time this year. Instead, we signed her up for Steph Curry’s online masterclass. Not only is Curry one of the best professional basketball players to ever play the game, he’s a strong Christian as well.

CURRY: To maximize the quickest release possible for you, lock in on the path that the ball takes from your catch ready position to your final release point. 

All our nearby gyms are still closed, but my daughter practices Curry’s regimen each week on an outside hoop with her sister.

For my youngest, we installed the YouTube Kids app on her tablet. In lieu of arts camp, she can access simple arts and craft tutorials on her own without suggestive ads or videos. I’m especially pleased with a series of beginner ukulele videos we found as part of the app. The upbeat videos encourage her to pick up her ukelele on boring days and learn at her own pace:

LESSON: How’s it going, guys? Welcome to this 10-day starter course for ukulele where we’re gonna be learning the easiest chords you can play on a ukulele and get started with some real songs right from day one!

We also enrolled her in an online course at Code Kingdoms. If she’ll stick with it, hopefully she’ll learn how to code using Minecraft and Roblox. She’s done a little bit of coding before using Scratch, a free online language and coding community. So, we hope to build on that foundation.

Finally, on the topic of family discipleship, we’re mourning the loss of Vacation Bible School. VBS allows my kids to build relationships with children in our church of all ages. Through simple lessons and play time, my girls can shepherd hearts and grow enthusiasm for God’s Word. 

MUSIC: [The B-i-b-l-e]

We can’t recreate V-B-S in its entirety, but we are trying to keep in touch with several families in our church. Outside activities like berry picking or creek tubing can be great ways to connect kids of all ages together. 

I also hope Christians won’t overlook family worship and discipleship. Just 10 minutes of Bible reading and prayer a day add up to 60 hours in one year! That’s the instruction time of three typical Vacation Bible Schools. 

I wonder, could churches find ways to creatively support parents in this task? Maybe provide a small bag of crafts or coloring pages? Or links to child-friendly hymns and teaching via a church email? Here’s a clip of a recent Bible Project video our family listened to about Micah:  

BIBLE PROJECT: The book of the prophet Micah. Micah lived in a small town named Moresheth in the Southern kingdom of Judah about the same time as Isaiah, and both the northern and southern kingdoms had split long ago and both had been violating their covenant with the God of Israel. 

One door that won’t ever shut—the door of God’s throne room. As we seek His guidance for our families this summer, we can rest knowing God is at work within us. His work won’t ever be canceled or postponed.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Emily Whitten.


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