More is Caught Than Taught - Intentional Presence, Perspective and Peace During Social Distancing

Some have assumed because we home educate, we’re experts in being sequestered at home.

Um, no!

Driving 2-3 hours daily has dropped to the sound of crickets in the driveway. No more driving back and forth to the kids’ work and activities. No more driving to my volunteer activities. No more meetings with other adult human beings. No more hugs outside of my immediate family.

I’m a hugger. That last one is particularly hard. Especially when teens don’t tend to be big on hugs, though I do receive the precious few and savor them as long as I can.

And I wonder if we should even continue to hug, since my husband is still working. I never imagined I’d see a day when I wondered if my husband going to work is a good thing.

Everyone is making adjustments in this unprecedented time. Everyone is experiencing some level of concern, anxiety or fear.

Even our kids.

Even if they don’t show it.

When physical distancing began, we were just off the heels of my son battling an acute illness, my daughter having surgery, travelling for and helping with a wedding, and me attending a writers’ conference. Life had already been off-schedule for us for about a month, and I had gotten behind in several areas, including this ministry of encouragement.

We were just beginning the attempt to get back to our normal when the President made his March 11th address to the nation, banning some travel and encouraging social (which I prefer to call physical) distancing. In less than a week we went from bans on gatherings of 100, down to 50, and now down to 10. Our schools closed, and my daughter’s friends from public and private schools were messaging her, asking for advice on how to handle being home all the time.

With 2-3 hours of daily driving time cut, I should have plenty of time to get the house a little more organized and clean, work on the class I’m taking online, and write for this blog, right? I should be able to get caught up, whatever that means.

Funny thing, nope.

Sure, like most people, I’ve been following the news more than normal, but that didn’t account for the amount of time I seemed to have lost. When I examined what I’ve done in the past week and a half, I realized the time was neither lost nor wasted.

I’ve called to check on family, some of whom I haven’t spoken with in months. I’ve messaged friends and loved ones. I’ve played games and watched movies with my family. I’ve had conversations with my kids. I’ve cooked more than usual. I’ve gotten outside and walked the dogs. I’ve attended a few online yoga classes. Sure, these are things I normally do from time-to-time, but not as often or with as much intentionality.

I’ve been more intentional about being present, partly because I’m not driving all over creation, but also because, in being forced to slow down, I’m sensing more of what is not being said in our family.

Our kids may not have obvious signs of concern and anxiety, but it’s there. Since mine are teens, it’s not as simple as just saying “everything will be okay,” and them accepting it at face value like they did when they were younger. However, just like little ones, they do pick up on our energy and how we are handling this time of uncertainty.

More is caught than taught.

In this time of uncertainty, let us hold to 2 Timothy 1:7, "for God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control."

What can I control?

I could sit in worry, fear and anxiety, scrolling through the news and truly isolating myself from everyone, physically and socially, or…

I could take that nervous energy and channel it into something productive for the benefit of others:

  • I can pick up the phone
  • I can send a message
  • I can play a game
  • I can watch a movie
  • I can practice self-care
  • I can listen
  • I can pray
A few days ago, my creative and artistic daughter drew some beautiful chalk images on our driveway to inspire and give hope to the neighborhood kids. The photos accompanying this post are some of her creations. Her efforts have affected us adults as well, with several slowing down to look as they drive or walk by. She took her energy and channeled it into something productive for the benefit of others.

More is caught than taught.

The good news stories of people helping others during this time are beautiful and heartwarming. We can all do something to help. Let us embody this, not only to have a positive channel for our own energy in this time, but as an example for our children of how to handle adversity in life.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams

What little thing can you do today to spread hope and love to your family and beyond? Start the conversation in the comments section below and let's inspire each other!



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