ABOUT INFORMATION GATHERING
1. Identify sources of information you’re ready to trust
- Don’t put stock in improbable conspiracy theories, rumors and fake news. And don’t pass on information you haven’t verified yourself.
- Keep current on the situation. Yesterday’s news story is probably out of date in this fast-changing, fluid situation.
- Consult government sources. The state is concerned that the virus outbreak not get out of control and go exponential, thus making it impossible for sick people to get medical help. The state has been given to us from God to help keep order in society. Pray for rulers and then follow their instructions, unless what they require is clearly contrary to the will of God.
- Luxembourg sources you may check regularly include:
2. Decide what you’re going to communicate to your family as the days pass
- Based on the information you gather, note what you are going to discuss with family members. Confer with your spouse about what will be explained and to whom. Stay on the same page, say and do the same thing.
- Emphasize that your family can do some concrete things that will help to keep the virus from spreading in your family and outside. Remind our children that by doing these things they help protect not only themselves, but also help others. Thinking of others’ needs is what biblical love is all about:
• wash hands regularly and correctly
• avoid shaking hands and embracing
• avoid close contact with infected people
• cough or sneeze only into the crook of the elbow or a tissue–not into the open air–and throw away the tissue into a secure place
• avoid touching your face with your hands
• take a walk and get some fresh air as long as this is permitted
• if you have symptoms, stay at home and call your doctor for advice
- Explain why church meetings are cancelled for the moment and commit to logging in to the virtual services and Bible studies with your family present.
3. Communicate information calmly, with confidence and with integrity
- Convey information in a matter-of-fact way. Your children need to see you respond calmly to whatever is needed at the moment.
- Keep a positive outlook. Remind your children that this is not the first time for a pandemic. Beware of fixating on gloom-and-doom news. Young children—and sometimes teens, too—don’t yet have the maturity to handle anxiety like an adult. Let’s not put more on their shoulders than they can be expected to carry.
- Beware of watching news about the virus in front of your children—do this privately to protect your children from the general hysteria you may have observed in the stores and office conversations. Our children need a strong dose of Scriptural reminders in order to counter the messages of the media. Be sure to place God’s promises before them and before yourselves.
- Don’t tell your children lies about what’s happening. Be truthful instead. God does not lie (Titus 1:2); nor should we (Ephesians 4:15). Ask God to give you wisdom to know how to express truth to your children in a way that they can understand and carry the responsibilities of the truth matching their age and maturity.
- Think about the discussion you will have with your children about how the pandemic is spreading. You might follow a series of questions as follows:
• what is Coronavirus?
• whom does it affect most often?
• how does it spread?
• what steps are people taking to slow the spread of the virus?
• what steps are we taking in Luxembourg?
• what steps will your family take?
• why will your children see people wearing masks, gloves or full PPE protective suits? Explain what the items do and why they are important.
• how long will the situation last? Explain to your family that Covid-19 and its containment are a temporary situation that will pass in God’s time–He is ultimately in control. Provide an example of a previous difficult time that your family has perhaps gotten through with God’s help.
• what will we do at home? Re-frame staying at home in containment as a unique opportunity that may create new possibilities of how to spend time together and possibly learn new things about God, the world, one another, and how we may help one another. See the suggestions below . . .
ABOUT ACTION POINTS
1. Don’t take unnecessary risks
- If the state eventually makes certain actions punishable by fines or even arrest (e.g. through the closing of borders, banning certain kinds of travel, requiring of all people to stay at home, etc.), follow the law (Romans 13:1-6).
- Think about what your actions mean for others, not just for yourselves.
2. Pray for affected people
- Get your family involved together in praying for needs you know about.
- Pray for the medical staffs in local hospitals. For example, one of our CCC family is a nurse at the Ste. Zithe clinic; pray for her in a stressful time.
- Pray for government decision-makers (1 Timothy 2:1-3: “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a trabquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity/ Thi is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”.
3. Take time for special activities at home
- Make this crisis a period that the family remembers as a positive time for family life. Unless a member of your family is infected and cannot participate, try these things out together . . .
• turn off the TV and internet for a few hours!
• spend time each day in the systematic reading of Scripture, accompanied by discussion and prayer;
• make calmness and order in your home a priority; chaos, boredom and family fights are your enemy;
• distribute family chores and responsibilities matching your children’s ages to stay active and resilient;
• use the situation to teach children how to manage their anxiety, their feelings and their words;
• play games in the evenings;
• put together a picture puzzle;
• try reading a good aloud as a family in the language of your choice;
• listen to calming music instead of the regular banal pop music—Bach is great for this, but so are pieces from the 19th century, and solid Christian music . . . and all is available on YouTube;
• call a person in the church family on the phone and get news, then conclude by praying for that person over the phone or internet line . . . and get your children involved in the process;
• cook or bake together (if your children are young, pick easy recipes they can execute);
• print out blank cartoon panels or memes and have the family create their own cartoons and jokes.
• provide colouring books or engage in arts and crafts;
• ask everybody in the family to take half an hour to fashion a homemade instrument, then get together to play a song together that everybody knows;
• pick a different continent to learn about each week and learn together the names of the countries in that place. See what the people there dress like, what their currency and flag looks like, and so on. Ask the children which details interest them and look them up together;
• use the various toys and objects at home to build things. Hold a contest challenging everybody to make a lego tower using a finite amount of pieces and household objects that you will provide them;
• make a family tree and teach your children about their ancestors and the places where your family originated;
• have your kids put on a play for you. Suggest to them the era and theme of the play and provide them with a bin of old clothes and objects to use to play their parts. Assign an older child to give out roles and scenes;
• encourage kids to call their friends, write emails, and send funny pictures to one another to maintain a sense of connection to peers and family;
• look at old family albums together. Create a collage of pictures for each child;
• build a tent and go camping—indoors!
• take the time to study the birds you see everyday in your neighbourhood and their features. Learn how to name and identify them.