As the new school year takes off, some parents are wondering if they made the right decision about how to educate their children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual learning? Homeschooling? Private school? Hybrid classes?
“What works for one family, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for another family,” said Franklin Graham’s daughter Cissie Graham Lynch, a mother of two. “There’s been no special formula for us as parents this year.”
Calling 2020 “chaotic,” Lynch said that while she and her husband made the decision to ultimately keep their daughter, Margaret, in private school and their son, Austin, at a local preschool, she understands every situation is different.
“Many of us parents had to take on the role of balancing our work, our home life, and taking on our children’s education with a system that wasn’t prepared or ready to teach our children at home and to teach them virtually,” Lynch said. “We have all been carrying a heavy load since March.”
In the meantime, Lynch researched various COVID-19 studies and websites—and found there’s no easy answers as it’s difficult to discern facts and truth about the pandemic.
Consequently, she decided to trust her heart. “You have to stop listening to all of it and go to God with your decision,” Lynch explained. “Whatever you and your family have decided, make sure you’re trusting in God.
“This year keeps shifting on all of us. So, make sure every day that you take your concerns to the Lord. … He sustains you through these difficult times. In 2020, we’ve had to be fully reliant … on God. We have had to decide that so much is out of our control, that we’ve had to be fully dependent on our Creator.”
So, what does trusting God through COVID-19 actually look like as a parent? In her podcast, Fearless with Cissie Graham Lynch, she offers five suggestions:
1. Do not operate in fear.
“Fear can cripple us; it can change our behaviors and how we treat people,” Lynch said. “But I want to remind you we’re not meant to operate in fear. We’re to find peace and to rest fully in God.”
“So do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10
2. Be flexible and show grace.
“Our schedules are not concrete. Teaching is difficult—everybody is learning as they go. We also just need to be able to laugh … show some humor and … be gracious towards one another,” Lynch said, noting that grace should especially be extended to teachers and one’s spouse.
“[These are] stressful times … [and] a learning curve for everybody. Every single person this year has had to go above and beyond. All of our emotions are high.”
3. Go to God in prayer.
“When you get anxious and you start worrying about tomorrow, remember … those are the times to pray,” Lynch said. “Get on your knees and surrender it to the Lord; [asking] that He would give you the guidance and wisdom, the creativity to raise your children, to educate your children and trust Him with these days that we are facing.”
4. Seek joy and turn to God’s Word instead of anxious thoughts.
“So many of us have anxiety that is ruling in our hearts. It’s overwhelming to us. But God’s consolation brought me joy. So remember … be in God’s Word. It’s God’s Word and wisdom that will be your foundation during this time. It will be the solid rock you stand on.”
In addition, Lynch added, “We can look at all the bad, but I choose to look at some of the good.”
What positives have you seen in this season?
For Lynch, the 34-year-old working mom has traveled less, enabling her to spend more time with family and rest during her quiet time with the Lord. Each night she plays a game with her children called “peaks and pits,” where they share a high and low of what’s happened in their lives that day.
“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” —Psalm 94:19
5. Rely on God for strength and give Him the glory.
“Remember that God will strengthen you in these days,” Lynch encouraged. “He will help you in these moments when you’re frustrated with your children and you don’t understand the math and you’re having a hard time, or the Zoom calls aren’t going very well.
“God is good, and He is gracious. Praise Him in the midst of this chaotic year. And to the parents and maybe grandparents who are stepping in and helping and assisting, we can do this. And take it day by day, one step at a time. But when you rise, before you get out of bed, surrender your steps to Jesus and at the foot of the cross.”