How Are You Doing? | March 27, 2020
In times of uncertainty, stories of kindness, of bearing each other’s burdens, and of praying for one another can be the very things that restore our hope in humanity and ignite our faith to new levels. In light of that, we want to know how you are doing. We want to hear about your wins, struggles, prayer requests, and questions. Please share your stories to social media using #covidparenting and tag us (@AxisIdeas) as we all come together.
Three Things This Week
What it is: A Snapchat-owned, location-sharing app that usually encourages people to get out and explore launched a “Stay At Home” challenge and leaderboard this week in an attempt to make being home cool.
Why it might help: Young people are already used to being on their devices and even choosing to be on them rather than going out. But if they’re like most teenagers in our modern world, being told to do something may suddenly make them want to do the opposite. So for those who are struggling during social distancing or a mandatory stay-at-home order, they may find apps like Zenly a welcome gamification of the situation. The app doesn’t reveal one’s home location to other users, just what percentage of time they’ve been at the location they marked as “home,” but it’s important to check out the app with them to make sure it’s safe, then talk with them about the risks of sharing their location with any app.
2. Sheltering (Mostly) Sans Screens
What it is:Statistics show that this pandemic is causing us to turn to our screens, not just for work or school, but also for social media and streaming entertainment of all varieties. But should we be?
Why this is an opportunity: “If we don’t actively decide what we want a day to hold, we’re at the mercy of a hundred things other than what matters most,” writes Jedd Medefind in a helpful piece about how our newfound limitations might impact us. And since it’s not just our kids but all of us who find ourselves in unknown territory, we have a beautiful chance to lead by example in setting a good routine for our families—one that makes space for reflection, dreaming, solitude, family time, learning, service, the outdoors (if possible), and healthy amounts of screen time. Read the article together as a family, then talk about each other’s hopes and fears, as well as ideas for a good family quarantine routine.
3. Monitoring Mental Health
What it is: Whether you’re under mandatory stay-at-home orders or simply being required to socially distance, you’re probably concerned about how your children’s mental health will be impacted by being cooped up.
Why it’s valid but can be mitigated:93% of Gen Z and Millennials report being impacted by COVID-19 (up from 63% last week), and we’re sure the statistics are similar for Gen Alpha (those born after Gen Z). Their daily lives have been disrupted, and they’re likely inside and away from fresh air and friends, relatives, teachers, etc. more than they ever have been. This can lead to feelings of depression, loneliness, and anxiety, even in young kids who don’t know how to interpret, express, or deal with those feelings. Besides asking your children questions that help them assess their mental state, check out this pediatrician’s practical tips for counteracting the mental effects of social distancing. And because this situation is just so unknown to us, remember that counseling may be even more important than ever (and is available online!).
Spotlight: Helping you to have tough conversations is our speciality. And the sex talk is one of the toughest conversations for parents! But you don’t have to do it alone. We are on the 3rd video of our 3-part video series called “Sex Talk 2.0”! If you haven’t had a chance to watch yet, jump in today and start watching Video 1 now.
In the Crucible of COVID-19
If this virus is teaching us anything, it’s that we all use entertainment as a means to escape reality. Now that many of our favorite forms of entertainment are suspended, it’s easy to see just how much we desire distraction. Some sports fans are so desperate to fill the void they’ve resorted to watching marble-racing videos. Yes, marble racing. One race has already garnered over 34 million views! (Go ahead, watch it, it’s actually pretty exciting!)
But this pandemic is also teaching us something even more profound if we’re willing to listen. And it’s this simple truth: Human suffering is both universal and transformative. In a strange way, we’ve all been given the gift of pain. As Christians, we are not saved from pain, but rather we are saved through pain. By Christ’s own wounds we are healed. And because we serve a suffering God, we can see God in our own suffering and in the suffering of others. In The Crucified God, theologian Jurgen Moltmann explains, “When we feel pain we participate in His pain, and when we grieve we share His grief.”
In fact, the central motif of suffering, of dying and rising again, runs throughout the entire biblical narrative. One example from John’s Gospel reads, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” If we are to be born again, we must first die. Pain is a poignant teacher forever reminding us that before we rise up, we most assuredly will go down.
In this time of suffering, we not only join in solidarity with all human suffering, but in God’s own suffering in and for the world. We’re all in this together. Everyone is hurting. Instead of escaping your pain, how can you use it as a tool toward transformation? How can you model this path of dying and rising for your children? What needs to die in your life (identity, possessions, job title, salary) for you to truly be born again?
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
Editor’s Note: Axis links to many different sources within this e-newsletter; a link does not equal an endorsement. We cannot guarantee the content of each site (especially its ads). Please be forewarned. Also, we highly recommend something like AdBlock.