Isn’t it good that I – as a father and husband – would never, ever want to have as much control over my family, as my two year old son, Jack? Obviously, I’ve left behind two-year-old-James‘ belief that his home environment should completely serve him.
Waiting to hear my wife laugh out loud, as she reads this, in 3, 2, 1….
The truth is that I would love to have as much control over what’s going on in my house, as Jack wants over my rendition of “Some Things Never Change“. You would think the illusion of control has been shattered in the COVID-19 family-together-all-the-time space, but… nah.
The reality is that for me – and I bet for you – the possibility of more, better control, is kind of hanging out there, like a prize that’s just within reach: “We’re all together – now’s my chance!” And, maybe you’ve seen some good changes in your own habits (you’re eating better, exercising more, loving your smartphone less), and/or you’re seeing your family make progress in spending better, more intentional time together. Right on! Not putting that down, by a long shot.
But these good changes don’t mean that perfection lies just over the horizon: You’re in a house full of imperfect, forgetful, slightly depressed, kinda anxious (you name it!) little, medium, and big people.
Let me ask you a couple of tough questions: Did your desire for more control exist, before this lock-down? Is it becoming unhealthy, now?
The opposite of control is grace (1, 2, 3). Grace means that, though I am invited to participate, I can’t control the outcome – we haven’t been given that much responsibility, praise the Lord! Grace waits on the change that only God can bring. Grace will help you leave the illusion of complete control behind, and will teach you to do something very different: Make space in your own life, and the lives of those you love – space that God can step into.
COVID-19 is not a controlled experiment. But it can be a time for grace to enter in.
I’m preachin’ to myself, right?
You can read the first 3 parts of “Parenting in a Pandemic”, here: One, Two, Three.
Have you started a business? Are you trying to keep one afloat? You might find this series on starting a church in a Pandemic, helpful.
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4 thoughts on “Parenting in a Pandemic, Part 4: Control?”
Good message! I’ve had to lower my “standards” (i.e., attempts at controlling my family members), so much farther than I though possible during this quarantine time. But an unexpected result is that I find grace growing more in my heart. I still don’t like those dirty dishes on the counter (I AM NOT THE ONLY HUMAN HERE CAPABLE OF LOADING OUR DISHWASHER), but I’ve ceased to let that anger control me… most days.
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So, so thankful that the message spoke to you, and – even more – that you sense God’s grace in the middle of all this! It’s such a weird position to be in, as a parent: Our children and our homes are given to us, by God, to care for, and yet there’s a limit. And we’re all bumping up against that limit, especially in this time, but God’s grace is the ice for our heads, and the hand that leads us away to wait and see what he’s doing in our own live, and in the lives of our families. Speaking of what he’s doing in our own, personal lives: Next week’s “At Home with the Rev”, will focus on the practice of personal prayer – How do I do it? Why is it so important?