Unstructured Downtime   Leave a comment

I think I have mentioned a number of times in this blog that the most pressing issues for me and those finding a prominent place in my prayers surround the desire not to miss what God is teaching us through this pandemic. How will we resist the magnetic attraction to return to life as it was?

During the first week distance learning Maggie asked her classes a question. “What are you enjoying most about having to stay at home?” Far and away the most frequent answer was that they enjoyed “spending time with their family” Anyone who has been out for a walk cannot have avoided noticing the number of whole families out walking or bike riding together. Families are finding that they can enjoy doing simple things together not just occasionally but often. Children are experiencing who their parents are, maybe for the first time.

I can’t help but think that this pandemic is giving our culture an opportunity to radically review our parenting strategies.A chance to reconsider the time we actually spend giving our children our undivided attention (I am going to risk saying especially fathers). Is this a chance to rediscover the importance of what Chap Clerk in his powerful book “Hurt 2.0 – Inside the Mind of Today’s Teenagers” calls “ unstructured downtime”?

 A friend forwarded me this devotional which is part of a series on “ You Version – The Bible App,” what I consider one of the greatest tools given to the church in the modern era. Here the author, Mike Novotny, expresses these concerns so powerfully. I only wish I had learned these lessons earlier in my life. If you are a parent today it is never too late, don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

“Until the Coronavirus hit, I couldn’t recall a time that my family ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner together for an entire week. Neither could I remember seven straight days of Bible study and worship as a family. But Corona changed that. Thanks, Corona!

For decades, pastors and youth leaders have prayed for fathers and mothers to embrace their God-given calling as the primary way that the Holy Spirit would lead the next generation to Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

With our crazy-busy schedules, that rarely happens. With another weekend tournament, late nights at the office, and too many social commitments to keep, we hope that a few Sunday sermons and two years of youth group will do the trick for our kids’ faith. Sadly, as history has shown, the trick doesn’t work. Shortcuts don’t cut it in the kingdom of God.

But then came Corona. Seasons were canceled, social commitments were cut back, and life slowed down. The Sunday service pushed pause, and the youth group suspended all activities. Do you ever wonder if God was forcing our fathers’ hands and making our mothers step up and think about the eternal future of their precious kids?

If your life is anything like mine these days, you have an extra hour or two in your schedule. Leverage that time to “start children off on the way they should go,” (Proverbs 22:6). If you’re not a parent, share this message with a parent you know. Before life speeds up again, let’s remind one another that nothing matters more than people loving God with their whole hearts.

If Jesus uses a global pandemic to pass the baton of faith to the next generation, it will all be worth it.”

Posted April 18, 2020 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

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