The other day I was watching a news program in which medical doctors were answering questions from viewers. One lady, who said she was an extravert, asked a doctor what she could do to keep from going stir-crazy, pressured to stay at home, and not gathering with others. The doctor began giving her things she could do, like read a book, or listen to music. I started laughing. He was definitely an introvert telling an extravert how to de-stress.
So, the kids are home, and getting bored. The parents are home and at wits end trying to keep the kids occupied. What kind of things can we do together as a family? How can we make memories together that will last for a lifetime? How can we make useful and palatable lemonade out of the lemons we’ve been handed?
In Ephesians 5:16 CSB we read: “Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” God instructs us to make the most of our opportunities, and use the time given to us to impact people with eternal things that are meaningful.
While being at home with kids who are used to a fast-paced life is hard, it is also an opportunity to create some memories and learn some lessons that can serve them well for the rest of their lives. Since the kids are being required to stay at home, this gives us uninterrupted time to infuse them with biblical truth and strengthen family relationships that will equip them to live a better life when this crisis is over.
Answer quickly! What are the first three memories that come to mind about your childhood experiences with your family? For most of us, the first memories we remember are of good times, such as a fun trip, or just things we did together as a family. With this in mind, think about each of those top three memories. What was it that solidified that memory in your mind?
It seems to me that the things that make the deepest impressions upon our memory are those things which we did, rather than just things we saw or that were said. If this is true, then as parents it’s important that we plan to do things with our children that will make really good and valuable memories for them.
As you plan things to do together, why not incorporate God into the planning? Childhood memories which incorporate God’s presence last for a lifetime. Use this time to research and plan a trip with your family after this Corona virus is over. You could visit the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C., or Noah’s Ark, or other high quality attractions that will help make a memory of God in your children’s lives.
Another way to make lasting memories is to plan a family evening when you all turn off all internet devices and do something together, like playing a good game or reading aloud as others listen. The Chronicles of Narnia is a great book series to read aloud as a family. Perhaps have different people read at different times, or read melodramatically, or throw in British accents. Laugh, get silly, and have a great time.
Read aloud some of the great stories of the Bible, like David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, or some stories or parables of Jesus from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Ask the kids to act out the parable as a skit or play. Or describe it in today’s settings. Or read through the Book of Acts. Then talk about the reading afterwards, highlighting the Biblical values revealed in the stories, or asking what it teaches us about God.
Take time to pray together, letting each family member talk to God as you hold hands with each other. Prayer is talking to God. Let the kids talk to God, like they would to a friend.
By incorporating God and His values into your kids’ lives, you are fortifying them for the tough times they will encounter in life, both today’s difficulties, and future ones. We need to plant memories of God into their lives while they are young, so God can resurface those memories to help them when times get tough later in life.
Taking time to create memories of God and our lives together is a great investment of this current time when we are forced to spend time together! Enjoy making memories together!
Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. He can be reached at email@example.com.