I’ve lived through national emergencies, but this is the first time I have parented through one. When I was a child, I looked to my parents in times of crisis. Now I have little eyes looking to me.
What message do we want to send to our kids about COVID-19? Our kids aren’t watching the news. They are watching us. Our words, actions, and attitudes will tell our kids how to interpret this crisis. Should they be afraid? Is God trustworthy? Is he in control? Is he good? Perhaps we’ve been teaching our kids the answers to these questions for years—but now is our chance to live them out. As our kids see us scramble to reschedule our lives and disinfect our homes, one characteristic should stand out: fearlessness. Fearlessness is what sets Christians apart in times of crisis—and our kids will notice it.
Here are three ways to model fearlessness to our children.
- Keep a Heavenly Perspective. While we can’t tell our kids the exact details of what the future holds for them, we can point them to the things that never change: This world is not our home (1 John 2:17). God is still on the throne (Ps. 47:8). No trial is worthy to be compared to the glory to come for God’s people (Rom. 8:18). When we’re tempted to fear what might happen to us in this life, we can point our kids to the beautiful future awaiting God’s people.
- Be Spiritually Prepared. Maybe we weren’t as prepared with toilet paper and hand sanitizer as we would have liked to be, but Christians should always be prepared for trials. First Peter 4:12 says that we should “not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” We can remind our kids that trials are part of the Christian life and they serve a special purpose: they refine us and remind us of our hope (Rom. 5:3-4).
- Look to Our Source of Peace. This is a chance for our kids to see that peace does not depend on our circumstances. It doesn’t depend on the world’s economy, national leaders, or our healthcare system. True peace comes from Christ. Christ tells us, “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
What kind of world will our kids grow up in? Long before we ever heard the word coronavirus, the answer has always been the same: our kids will grow up in a sinful and broken world, but it belongs to God. Psalm 24:1 reminds us that “the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” When your kids look to you for answers, let them see you looking to God. Their eyes will follow your gaze, and they will face the future without fear.