I thought it would be helpful to all of you if I took the time to pass on some helpful suggestions for surviving the Coronavirus crisis. Having survived my own life catastrophes and several crises over the years, I felt you might benefit from these suggestions and ideas.
Please know that my primary intention in this article is your best interest. I care about every one of you and your families very much. These things are simply suggestions and ideas that I thought you might find very useful during this very difficult time we are all living through.
We all must adapt, improvise, and overcome to survive.
It will take more than just health and medical precautions to survive this crisis. It will also take spiritual, emotional, parental, financial actions, precautions and practices as well as simple, practical solutions for many of you to survive and thrive as a family with kids home, and dad and mom now working from home as well.
This can be a tremendous opportunity for you as a dad and mom to teach and instill in real-time, in a moment of genuine national crises, the values of prayer, faith in God, encouragement from the Scriptures, shared sacrifice, frugality and austerity, courage and working together as a family, loving one another at home, and caring for others.
There is a whole lot of paranoia going around right now, which creates tremendous fear. I certainly understand that this is a very serious issue, a very serious situation. I am not trying to minimize in any way the potential ramifications, nor the real-world consequences of this virus. It is having tragic human consequences and devastating financial consequences. I commend our President and our Vice President and all those who are rallying to confront this virus with all its ramifications, head-on. Please, keep the President and his team working on this in much prayer.
Dads, this is a strategic moment in history for you as a father to step up and lead the way with your family. It is essential that as a father, you demonstrate to your family your faith in God, your confidence in His Word and your dependence, practice, and belief in prayer. It is essential to make some simple, effective plans to help sustain your family through these days and possibly weeks and months ahead, and bring some good order, structure, and enriched family relationships during this time.
1. I would gather your family each morning during this crisis since most of you are now at home, and start the day with prayer. Let your kids see God is real to you. That you are praying for our leaders, you are asking God for help. Pray for the medical community to find a vaccine. Pray for your neighbors, friends, and family to stay healthy. Pray over your finances asking God to multiply them and provide for your needs. Thank God specifically each day for all the things he has given to your family already.
Give each of you children old enough to pray, a chance to pray for what is on their hearts and mind. Do this every day during this crisis that you are homebound. Pray over their fears and worries and your fears and worries. Cast those great burdens on the Lord.
2. Each morning, or at lunch or dinner do a simple Bible reading of your favorite Psalms, or other passages of Scripture that give you hope, that exalt God’s faithfulness, or articulate great, comforting and encouraging truths. Do not feel you have to stick to your regular Bible reading plan. This is the time to go to your favorite passages of comfort and hope in the Bible.
Passage’s like Romans 8:31-39, Ps.103, or Ps. 40. Many of you have these passages already highlighted or underlined. Now read them out loud, with feeling, to your family. Read through the book of Psalms together during this time, or read through the many promises you have underlined in your Bible through the years. Just do it.
3. Fathers, give your families an overview, in a calm, but thought out way explaining to them what you need from them as your children during this time. Explain to them that as you are working from home now, you will need some extra quiet to get your work done productively. Help them understand the whys. Help them understand how their role during this crisis is so important and how you need their help, just as they need your help.
4. Make use of your garage space. Many of you may not feel comfortable letting your kids outside right now. One simple idea is back your cars out into the driveway, and use your garage for play space for the kids, as you are working inside at your computer. Of course, secure any dangerous items in the garage from them. This gives them a bit of room to be loud, or run, or ride a trike. Another possible idea for you dads working from home is you set up a small table in your garage and work from your laptop out in the garage instead of inside the home. I have had a garage office for 20 years now and it has been fantastic, a huge help to me and my family. They have been able to carry on their day inside the home, without worrying they were bothering me, while I worked outside in my garage. If you need to have a quiet space to have a business phone call, simply go sit out in your nice van, car, or SUV and do the call from there.
5. Create a consistent routine and schedule for the kids, if you are not used to having one, or if they have usually been gone to school. Routines and structures are a very effective and important way for surviving stress, crisis, and circumstances beyond your control.
6. Make use of Facetime to contact their friends who they may miss or your other family members. One of our little granddaughters, who is 4, contacts Grandma Kathy frequently through Facetime and carries on a conversation, watches Kathy work in the kitchen, or takes Grandma Kathy with her and her little iPad back into her bedroom to show Grandma her dolls, or her new books. This is extremely helpful to children. It helps them feel connected, significant and loved. It also is a great blessing to grandparents.
7. Husband, wives, this is a very important time to get along with each other. Be very careful you don’t project your fears on each other. Avoid needless arguments. Many of you are not accustomed to having your husband around all day in the home. Wives and husbands tend to have different emotional reactions to how to go about life in light of this virus. Some wives would prefer their husband never leave the house now for fear he will bring the virus home and give it to the kids. They want to wear a hazmat suit wherever they go. Use good common sense. Don’t be flippant or disrespectful with each other. This is a time to pull together, be extra kind and extra considerate. Tremendous stresses are coming down on you right now. Also, keep your sense of humor.
8. Be very careful and wise with your finances. This is the time to be very frugal and austere. The financial implications that are already starting to take hold are immense. This will most likely be protracted. This is the time to buy, simply and only, what you need. Kids can live a long time on peanut butter, or almond butter and bread if they have to. So can mom and dad. Eggs are very inexpensive and a great source of protein and other vital nutrients. This is a good time to help them understand sacrifice. I would advise you to avoid spending money on anything right now that is not essential. As examples: chips are not essential, pop is not essential, candy is not essential, coffee from Starbucks is not essential. Substitute popcorn and make your own in a pan on the stove instead of buying chips. Homemade popcorn cost pennies on the dollar compared to salty chips. I am being very serious. I think we are headed for some very, very difficult financial times. Stretch and conserve every dollar you have. Use any extra to help any family members in need with some essentials for their life.
If you do get the money in the mail the government is proposing to send out, do not waste that money. Be extremely restrained and wise with it. There is not an endless supply of it. Use it only for your essentials to life. Again, these are only suggestions as I have lived through extremely difficult financial times myself as a family man, and these kinds of things have been one of my great secrets of survival, and sanity.
One other thing, though I believe strongly in personal frugality and stretching every dollar as far as it will go, I have continued to maintain my godly commitment to generosity, giving and investing financially in eternal things. I have never stopped that practice. God has rewarded it, and He will reward you also.
9. Do your best to comply with the government’s requests and guidelines during this crisis. Why? Because this is a great way to teach your children by your example, submission to governing authorities and the impact of cooperation.
10. Gloves. For 31 years every single Sunday after my message, I would stand at the door, shake hands and say hello to thousands of people. I would frequently get sick. It began to dawn on me, that though all humans are precious and important, we easily spread germs to each other, especially those warm, friendly handshaking Christians! Since I live in a cold climate state, I experimented. I got a slightly thinner pair of gloves and for much of the year, stood at the door after my messages wearing my black gloves as I shook people’s hands. Guess what? I rarely got sick, and I didn’t pass on those germs from my warm hands to the next person’s hands in line. I went to Target yesterday morning, it was about 30 degrees outside, there were many cars in the parking lot, and guess what? I was the only one wearing thin work gloves! Yup, I wear gloves often, and especially when shopping, pushing carts around. The number one way germs are spread is your hands! Not the only way, but the number one way. Of course, I also wash my hands regularly whenever I get home from running errands, or being around people.
11. Broaden and enlighten your perspective. I often watch documentaries either on Amazon Prime, Disney+, or Netflix about World War 2 or World War 1. It will stun you and your kids the amount of suffering, courage, sacrifice, and hardships of these previous generations. I am very serious, watch some of them with your kids. They are tremendous and give you much-needed perspective and gratitude, as you see with your own eyes what these people went through. It will help you put this present crisis into a good perspective.
A final word.
Dear friends, beg God for His mercy on this Nation. If ever there was a time to pray, to cry out to God for his mercy and help it is now. To be very frank, this nation and this world rightly deserve the severe judgment of God. Our nation has now murdered over 60 million babies, we have defied God’s moral laws, we have redefined marriage contrary to the laws and design of God, we have by and large abandoned God, nor do we give Him thanks for all He has done daily.
Never forget God is with you! Read right now, Isaiah 43:1-5 (NLT).
Never forget it.