An Open Letter to an Overwhelmed Parent

Dear overwhelmed parent,
you are not alone.

If your family is anything like mine, your extroverts are dying for social interaction and your introverts are energized and ready for people again, leaving everyone at each other’s throats. Days are long, nights are short, and everyone is always looking for a snack. If the kids aren’t enough to drive you mad, you are nearly drowning in dishes.

If you are in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf announced last week that school has been cancelled for the rest of the school year. No more buses, no after school activities, no sports, no dances, no graduations. On top of living through a worldwide pandemic, you have now been told to step up to the plate educationally for your kids in ways you never anticipated. Even for those of us who have made the decision to homeschool before, social distancing changes the game for us too. It’s overwhelming, unsettling and generally chaotic to the already difficult day to day life of parenting.

So what are you going to do? How are you going to respond to this burden you now bear? How can you now be parent, short order cook, friend, and now teacher too? Is it even possible?

Someone certainly thinks you can. And not just the department of education. The Lord God of Heaven and Earth, before the foundation of the world was laid, saw you, your child and this anxiety filled situation and declared you capable. It has been the call of the church for millennia for parents to bear the responsibility of educating their children first and foremost in the ways of the Lord.

In the midst of covenanting with His people in Deuteronomy 6, as He reveals His intimate and personal name, our great God directed His people to tell their children about the goodness of the Lord when they sit, stand, walk, talk, eat, and rest. If your house is anything like mine, this is basically what my days look like: sitting, standing, walking, talking (sometimes loudly over a particular toy), eating way too much, and resting much less than I’d like. But God says to His people then and to His people now that He equips parents by His Spirit then asks them to teach their children the ways of the Lord while they live life together.

Maybe you are dreading being the primary educator to your children for the rest of the year. Maybe you are preparing for the kick back and inevitable frustration. Maybe you are mourning the lack of senior events. Regardless of how you feel about the educational events of the last week, I want to remind you that your primary objective is not to produce a prodigy or straight A student. Your goal is not finished math sheets or college-ready essays. You have been called and equipped to train your children in the ways of the Lord. Straight A students are not brought into the kingdom of Heaven because of their report card but by their love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s take these next weeks and months of quarantine to put Jesus on display in our homes. Let’s spend more time reading God’s Word with our kids then doing math worksheets and/or reading Dr. Seuss. Let’s pray for and with them more than we let Netflix teach. Let’s be intentional about how we love, discipline, play, craft, cook and do school. Let’s be intentional about showing Jesus to our children knowing that “in the Lord, your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

This is not an easy task we’ve been assigned. But the very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you (Romans 8:11) and equips you to this job of loving and educating our children in the ways of the Lord.

We are in this together. You are not alone. You can do this. With Gods help, we can all do this.

Another exhausted parent

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