As the panic of the pandemic sweeps the country there are many of us that feel lost. Our routines and structure is what makes our days, our months, our life. As we prepare best we can by securing toilet paper, food, and other survival needs, we can easily panic and wonder about our future. My husband works in the commercial food industry. What happens if all the restaurants close down? I can panic and wonder, and I do to some degree.
As church and schools are closing down we can be worried about what our everyday will look like. This is where the real gem lies. We have been given a beautiful gift of time.
I want to take a second and explain that there is a difference between homeschool and schooling at home. While the schools are shut down, the burden of education of the children will shift a little more the shoulders of the parents. In this there will be some frustration as the parents try to be proxy for the school teacher. Homeschooling is a bit different as there is freedom in not taking your daily teaching tasks from a teacher but The Teacher. As communication will have to increase between these amazing school teachers and dedicated parents, that is the process I have been seeking between me and my God for the past 9 years as I have been trying to homeschool.
What will be similar for all of us is this incredible gift of time as a family. Even me, who normally has a lot of time with my kids, now has even more time. As we lead up to General Conference and Easter, God has essentially taken EVERYTHING off of our obligations plate. He has given us all an increase of time. I think it might be tempting to fill it with leisure and maybe some mindless binging of screen. It might be tempting to make a list of all the things that we never have time to get done, and start tackling them.
Yet if I have learned anything from homeschooling for the past 9 years it is that daily marching orders should come from God. How does he want us to use this precious gift of time? Will it look like gathering your kids and reading more scripture with them? Or maybe reading a classic book aloud to them? Maybe it will be games or hikes. Maybe we will get to study those sections of the Doc. & Cov that the prophet has asked us to study.
For my family, the increased time we have been given through homeschool has been used in different ways. We have squandered this gift on many occasions. But we have also used this gift of time to spend time in nature and therefore spend time with God. We have a family culture around me (or an audio book) reading great books to my family all together. Reading aloud to my kids has been a great bonding experience and has allowed us to create a common experience very few other things have been able to do.
Personal revelation is key to being able to take advantage of this gift. In the last session of General Conference the prophet asked us to set aside the things of the word. I never in a million years thought that we would get an opportunity to truly set aside the whole world. To focus more fully on the little world inside my own home.
We recently purchased a copy of a piece of art titled “Little One” By Youngson Kim. It is a picture of Christ alone in the mountains with just one little lamb. He is kneeling down beside the lamb and gently touching it. His hand is near the mouth and it could possibly be feeding the sheep. This picture spoke straight to my heart the first time that I saw it. Right now, in the middle of the pandemic panic, each of our families have been separated from the flock and He will minister to us. He will feed His sheep.
As you seek personal revelation of what you can do with this gift of time, I know He will guide you to the best things for your family. I hope the pandemic panic doesn't last long. I hope peace will speak to all of our hearts at this time as we seek His voice above the voice of the world.