How do we make sense of our new world? How do we make the most of it? How do we not implode with our own mind-talk? I sit in my lounge, astounded at the events happening around the world, and now in my own back yard. Hearing Jacinda Adern close down NZ…I couldn’t have even predicted this 2019 New Years’ Eve! I admire our NZ leader, her courage and swiftness of action. She has shown boldness, and I love her catch line of “BE KIND”. In the midst of a society which is panicking, I sit here, I hear my kids belly laughing while watching a good 80’s movie (much to our delight!). The cats have had so many pats today (probably much to their disgust), and we have eaten most meals around the table. All around, it just seems strange, seems surreal that the world is shutting down – while possibly in other places the lockdown is starting to be lifted. I sense a real dichotomy out there, and in my lounge, but of course I welcome the laughter, and keep the news off as much as possible (to the whole family – just filtering through the important things).
In New Zealand our family has finished day 1 of quarantine, with full lockdown looming in around 24 hours. I haven’t panic bought (ok, maybe bought bulk coffee and chocolate), in fact the introvert side of me wants to avoid all busy-ness of town, as people do the best they can to prepare for 4 weeks quarantined. It has been strange that the words ‘supermarkets will stay open’, has not been heard. But people do the best they can in their own minds to feel like there is some semblance of control.
In my world, where I am personally very busy, and very lucky to be a teacher with sustained income, I have been looking at this with a very different lens. I now have time. Lots of time. And I have family. Lets revisit that one in a couple of weeks though! But seriously, time. How can we best make use of this precious commodity that the devil knows will bring us down when he takes it away?!
So in my head, around planning for some distance learning for my students, I have some thoughts around how to cope with 4 weeks away from what we normally do…
- Spend time with God. Read daily devotionals, listen to inspirational youtube clips. Do this alone, and together as a family.
- Pray together, talk about how everyone is feeling.
- Just be. Enjoy the space to think. Write down ideas for projects or hobbies that you could pursue. I intend to get into my backyard with my camera – maybe do a project called ‘quarantine’ – where I take a deeper look at the things around my bubble. Random – but I want to find my crochet hook and crochet these cute feather bookmarks
- Watch some tutorials on youtube – do it together as well as alone. It is a powerful thing when your kids watch you learn, make mistakes and try again. I want to look up tutorials on drawing, and I know I can bring my kids along with me on this one!
- Play music – I have found some simple duets I want to learn with my girl.
- Dig out those old knucklebones or marbles from high school, and teach your family. Ooooooo hunt through your sewing box for elastic, to make some elastics! I am sure the kids will be riveted with it! Ok our enthusiasm might be longer lasting than theirs.
- Cook together. Or have a baking competition (if you have the ingredients). Cook things that you normally wouldn’t cook because you don’t normally have the time. Like bread. Like hot stew and dumplings, like any baking really.
- Play boardgames. I have suggested we try every board game in the house…lets see how far we get. Some easy games that don’t require a board set could include scattegories, charades, family feud online. It could also include snap, tag, animal-vegetable-mineral!
- Build a fort, have a picnic under it. Have a tea party if your house has lots of girls in it – but even if you have boys, have a tea party and try to teach some etiquette!
- Have time where you go to bed early, put soft lighting on and play some music…and just deep listen. Or run a bath, light some candles and have something to listen to, or read (or not!).
- Declutter a-drawer-a-day. My enthusiasm for this might run out!
- Colouring in – very soothing, especially if my household starts to get tense.
- Pull out the old family videos!
- Go for a walk (remembering the 2m distance)
- Have fun, and laugh.
- Have some system where the kids know you need alone time. That might be screen time. I know already that I am going to need to schedule some alone time. Do it. For your sanity.
But aside all of these things, lets make memories. In the future we will say ‘remember when…’ and our kids will say, ‘yes, and we did…it felt…I loved…’. Make memories, be together, stay home for the sake of our vulnerable. Allow God into your homes, take the now available time to learn from Him, and hear Him more than ever. I am thankful He has the big plan in mind. May His peace flow over us and through us all. May he heal our land