RAISING ARROWS
Photo Credit: 
Cheyenne Belew | The Chronicle
From the left, Matt Belew stands with his children, Caleb, 10, and Joshua, 9, on the family’s farm, where they spend much time together as a family, away from the busyness of life.
From the left, Matt Belew stands with his children, Caleb, 10, and Joshua, 9, on the family’s farm, where they spend much time together as a family, away from the busyness of life.

2020 is over. Yup. The page has finally turned on this historical chapter in our lives. Coronavirus. Closures. Cancellations. We did it. We survived. Take a minute to breathe. Again. Once more. Now, open your eyes. Let’s talk about this year’s tribulations for a moment, because nothing should go to waste. When we are tried, we can choose to dwell on it or learn from it. I choose to learn. I believe we will be better for it. Parents faced especially difficult circumstances during 2020. Let’s reflect on how the pandemic changed our families.

Forced family time

Something that’s trending on Facebook is having a word for the new year. Mine is togetherness. The Bible says to teach our children God’s commands while doing life together. While sitting. Walking. Laying down. What better chance to train our children than to be forced to spend more time together?

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV).

Before the pandemic, most of us were just going along with the “rat race,” learning, earning, spending and growing. My family was constantly rushing to be on time for the next event, whatever it was. Then came March 2020. It brought change no one could have anticipated. Suddenly everything was on pause. Then, we waited. And hoped. And waited some more. Honestly, we are still in the wait. The pandemic will end at some point. Take advantage of the time at home while you can.

Blessing of family

Being forced to spend time together has made us closer, more tolerant of each other. Although we longed to see friends, we learned to enjoy our family’s company even more. In essence, our family became our friends. I have certainly been made aware of the blessing they are to me and gained a special appreciation for my little tribe. Family has given purpose to my life. Yes, we fight, and we all have shortcomings. I dare say it is a love-hate relationship (a little light on the hate part). Despite driving me to the brink of insanity (several times a day), I can’t imagine life without them. They are my limbs. My heart. My reason for living. Without them, I bleed.

Getting to know your children

Who Are you again? This was my first reaction when I was trapped at home with my children for the first few weeks. No school. No work. It was difficult being together every second of the day (minus the times I kicked them outside to play). Their continual presence initially overwhelmed my feeble mind. But I began to notice small things again. Like each new little brown freckle on my boys’ noses. Or remember the raspy voice which hounds my beanpole of a daughter. For a moment, my boys’ incessant bodily function and human waste jokes are cute, and I don’t mind my daughter yelling her questions to me while I sit right next to her. It’s adorable and I am in awe that I even made them. I enjoy them like I did when they were newborns. Being home is an opportunity to observe them and saturate ourselves in who they are now. The thing is we are constantly getting to know them because they are in a state of perpetual transformation. Enjoying and celebrating each child breeds family togetherness.

The pandemic’s gift to us

The pandemic has cost us much. But it has also gifted us with time. Time with our family. Our children. It has made me more aware of who my children are and, more importantly, who they are becoming. We have spent countless hours playing outside, watching movies and devising schemes to add more animals to our little collection. Right now, we are at two dogs, one cat and two chickens. Although one is a rooster who is about to meet his end. (Side note: Roosters get aggressive). My husband has built two chicken coops with our children’s help and I got to fulfill my dream of running with my boys. In other words, we have had time to do things we’ve always wanted to do. We have done life together.

Reflection

What has COVID-19 taught us? It has revealed the importance of family, a reduced schedule and more time at home. Let’s remember this lesson when planning after the pandemic. Family is everything. Time is fleeting. Make time to do things with your family. As we enter the new year, reflect on this, and talk about it with your family. Is this over? Not quite, but it is worth reflecting on with the close of the year. Go spend time with your children and enjoy them right where they are. Cook a meal, build a fort, teach them guitar. Just do life together. Chase after togetherness. Invest time in your children and you will build a strong, united family front able to withstand conflict. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mark 3:25 (NIV).

Contact Cheyenne Belew at thechronicle@hillcom.net.

RAISING YOUR CHILDREN