By now, you have probably heard about the events that rocked our capital last week. If you turned on the television or looked at social media at all, you probably saw images of total chaos. Even today, I heard someone say, “Well, I guess that 2020 just wasn’t done.” Regardless of what side or stance you take with party lines, this was a scary moment in our government’s history. I was heartbroken to see the violent acts that transpired.
When we see chaos all around us, it does something to us emotionally. For some, these things incite anger or spite. For some, they incite prayer. For others, avoidance. We are responsible for how we respond when we experience difficult circumstances. Parents, we need to consider the ramifications of our responses on our children as well.
I am convinced that our kids are like sponges and they pick up on a lot more than we mean to teach. When we respond with rage, bitterness, or panic, our kids see it. If we find ourselves in the snares of the negativity monster, our kids know it. We become more irritable and on edge, more critical of others, and less gracious.
When we are assertive in our convictions, our kids see it. Likewise, when we let our kids know that we are present and we will weather these times together, we instill confidence in our children. Kids need the confident assurance that even though we don’t exactly know what the future holds, we are going to do it together. When we focus on the needs of others, we allow ourselves and our kids the opportunity to step out of personal emotional turmoil.
I want to encourage a different message, one of gratitude, dependence on God, and the assurance that comes from an environment of stability.
6 things to consider:
1. Actively look for ways to encourage and support others around us. This helps us to show our kids empathy for others, and it takes us out of our own internal criticism. Also, it is a lot of fun to serve as a family
2. Count your blessings. Acknowledge the fact that life has been stressful. Even with all of the challenges we have faced as a people, we still have life. We still have each other. I am not saying that things are easy, but we have to recognize that there are certainly things to be thankful for.
3. As a family, spend time praying and in bible study together. Talk about how you see God working.
4. Play together with the people in your circle. Look for opportunities to laugh together and have fun.
5. Communicate with others. Prolonged isolation is one leading factor for depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety are accompanied by fear, sadness, anxiety, and overwhelm.
6. Negativity tends to lead to more negativity. Avoid spending a lot of time with or reading social media content from people that stay in negative thought patterns.
I have seen ample evidence in my own life and the lives of others that when we get stuck in negativity, noticing the positive is much harder. I think a lot of us put on a negatively tinted pair of sunglasses in 2020. We have kept these shades on for so long that we have forgotten that there is still a full-color, vibrant world around us. I want to encourage you, my friends, take off the sunglasses so you can see the beauty of life and hope that is possible in 2021.
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