going deeper


By: Stacey
Stacey's picture

What if our ____________ before 2020 was abnormal? Fill in the blank.

We have heard quite a bit from the CDC recently but these numbers may have slipped by you. As of June 2020, 7.4% of U.S. children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.5 million) have a diagnosed behavior problem. 7.1% of U.S. children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety. 3.2% of U.S. children aged 3-17 years (approximately 1.9 million) have diagnosed depression. Is it possible that there are a few abnormal things that have led us here.

What if our schedule before 2020 was abnormal?

“Hyper-parenting” led us to fill our schedules along with our children’s with activities that were to lead to a more successful and supposedly fulfilling life; but then COVID. Alvin Rosenfeld M.D.and Nicole Wise, co-authors of The Over-scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-parenting Trap, call it “over-enriching your child’s life.” No more Mom Taxi, no more soccer/ballet/any scheduled activities, no more over-scheduling. And we found out it was actually better for some families.

Do you feel like the planner you filled out for 2020 is the biggest waste of money for the year? Since your hectic schedule was put on hold for a time, now is a great time for a pause and reevaluation of what existed before. If you look at January in that planner and it is full for you and your children, it may be time for a better normal in scheduling.

What if our family time before 2020 was abnormal?

Dr. Rachita Sharma from the University of North Texas says, “Don’t think of this as the summer that didn’t happen. Instead, it’s the summer when we spent more time together.” Prior to COVID-19, Americans were enjoying just 37 minutes of “quality time” as a family on weekdays. And you may be wondering which family they are talking about because your family went days (or weeks) without quality family time with everyone. Now, more families are enjoying more forced time with their families than before the pandemic; playing board games, pitching the ball or putting together puzzles. While screen time may remain the same, parents are opening up time to sit face-to-face with their children and create.

What if our wants and needs  were abnormal before 2020?

It may seem like a first world problem, but that doesn’t make it any less of a problem. We worked 40-60 hours a week, away from our families, pre-pandemic to buy things that are temporary. A long time ago, Johnny and I decided that we wanted more permanent experiences and a more permanent marriage to go along with that. Does that mean we have shifted our wants and needs in the purchasing area and the emotional areas of our lives? We have attempted to and found joy in the moments that matter - that is the best we can do.

But fast forward to this pandemic and God has made it clear that we need Him first, each other and our families next and everything follows. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” Matthew 6:33. We love talking about Jesus on the radio but, if it all disappeared tomorrow, Jesus would still be there as well as our marriage and families. Look seriously at your wants and needs to see if they match your beliefs and values.

What if our giving before COVID-19 was abnormal?

We have watched our neighbors stand in long lines for food, school bus drivers dropping off school lunches for children and the jobs of those around us disappear. Insurance, rent or mortgage, and supplies for the upcoming school year dropped to the background for these families when they needed food. To see everyone coming together to bring food to donate so that others can eat has lifted the hearts of those in the DMV.

WGTS 91.9 is all about giving back and you have been a large part of that. So, when we look back at our giving pre-pandemic, is there an option for us to do better? Lose the wants talked about above so that we can give to those in need? Instead of turning in and hunkering down, we can be the ones that give and give some more. Giving hope to someone else will be how they know us, by our love.

It turns out that you can put any word in that blank above and ask the question… as long as our love for others grows in this time and for years to come. No pandemic, changed school year or abnormal life situation can change that.