Coronavirus Day 36- Kids and Church

Virtual church, ya’ll. Photo credit: Steve

God has no grandchildren.

Getting Your Kids Through Church Without Them Ending Up Hating God,
Rob Parsons

BLUF: Kids come have to come to faith on their own. Parents guide them, but must get out of the way.

We’ve decided to divide and conquer today. Steve and the kids are upstairs about to start Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m downstairs about to load the dishwasher and sweep the pet fur and do other cool and interesting things like that. This is all fine with me, by the way. By sheer volume of hours, I spend a lot more time with the kids than Steve does. I even have time to goof off with them during the week. So I’ll let them enjoy their movie. I’m glad I’m not staring down a work week.

It turns out that virtual church has been just as hard to gain momentum around as normal church had been. Just before Coronavirus, the last time we attempted church we had arrived so late, that the kids refused to go into the kids’ worship service. Steve and I brought them into the sanctuary where they squirmed and made noise and we ended up leaving early. Of note, my kids are not little! They are capable of sitting still for entire school days. What I’m dealing with is some kind of philosophical church parenting problem.

In the book quoted above (an on-the-nose title, I know), the author’s main point is to stress the role of parents in developing their kids’ faith—specifically the limits of parents’ influence. He emphasizes that parents cannot bear full responsibility for their kids’ spiritual journey. Kids have to come to faith for themselves. There are a lot of ways to model and help kids along (he makes a big point of the value of youth groups) but forcing Christianity could do more harm than good. I 100% believe this.

So where does this leave me? Today, I invited them. I appealed to their desire to make me happy (“Please just come sit with me while I watch,”). It worked last weekend (Easter!), not so much today. I guess I just keep trying. Maybe I get creative and bring in donuts and park them in front of the TV. I guess this works for normal churches. There is something to persistence and perseverance and continuing to try. Maybe this is the point the author is really trying to make.

Coronavirus Day 34- On Activating Reservists

TGIF. Photo credit: Penelope

“The Firm should be a place to work that exudes class. This means that the associates (whose workloads are arduous) should be treated generously and supported well.”

D. Ronald Daniel, Daniel on McKinsey

Today is Friday. I missed my window to run this morning in exchange for a trip to the grocery store for some staples such as, coffee! And milk! And paper towels! I complimented my cashier’s floral print face mask.

“Thanks,” she said. “My grandmother made it.”

I mentioned in a previous post that my reserve unit started activating people to support New England in handling the Coronavirus pandemic. As of yesterday, that activation has been canceled. For anyone reading this who is not connected to the reserves, canceling an activation sounds like no big deal. It sounds as simple as flicking on and off a light switch. But activating a reservist is more like booting up an old computer. When you push that big round button on the CPU, you can hear the little machines inside start to whir and beep, and see green lights flicker and watch commands flash across the screen. A minute or two later (probably longer I don’t remember), that computer is ready to do some work. Activating a reservist is more like that.

This past summer I received 30 days notice for a seven month activation. My “booting up” involved my husband saying to his boss, ‘Oh, hi boss, just letting you know my wife’s been activated so I’ll need to be more hands-on at home while she’s away thanks for understanding,’ and my mom telling her boss, ‘Oh hi boss I know I just signed a contract to work another year but can I do it remotely? My daughter just got activated and I have to move to Houston, thanks.’

When I did finally arrive to my appointed place of duty it became clear that my role—my team—did not have a clearly defined mission. In total, I can account for two-three months of idle time.

The other side of this is going through the booting up process and someone just pulls the plug out of the wall. Mission canceled.

There is something to be said for being a reserve force in readiness, as in, we are ready to “boot up” at the whim of our nation’s call because it’s our patriotic duty. We’re volunteers, after all. But there’s also something to be said for treating people with respect, as in, the organization respects the fact there are people on the other end with families and lives and jobs. Sometimes involuntary mobilizations and false starts can’t be avoided. But I get the sense that sometimes, some staff officer out there just sees rows of CPUs with big round buttons ready to push.

Coronavirus Day 33- My Big Giant Boy Saves the Day

Here I am, at my computer, coming up with clever things.
Photo credit: Nicholas

Since I’m tired of Coronavirus, I will relay this thing that happened just after lunch. When my Big Giant Boy came to the rescue.

We finished virtual school time and Nick asked for my phone so he could play Fortnite and FaceTime his friends.

“Sure,” I said, “but you owe me a mile. Then you can play all you want.”

I wanted to make sure he ran the whole thing so I decided to follow him on my bike. Then I had the idea to bring Poppy. Somehow, I would do all these things: run Poppy, run Nick, ride a bike.

Poppy cooperated for the first quarter-mile, pulling me along the trail at a consistent pace. It was great. I thought about those Alaskan sled-dogs and wondered if Poppy had some sled-dog pedigree. So there I was, gliding along as we approached the giant modern house under construction. Poppy made a hard stop and pulled me off my bike. I banged my knee. Several people stopped to ask if I was okay or needed help (“I’m okay!”). I told Nick to keep running while I got Poppy situated again, but she squeezed out of her collar and took off down the street. I went after her on foot and I felt really dumb that I didn’t think to chase her on my bike. Meanwhile, Poppy was having a great time.

I managed to corner Poppy between two houses a block away but still couldn’t catch her. At that point I thought I might lose my dog. I had a new number after all, and had not updated her microchip. Then I noticed someone coming to help; it was my Big Giant Boy! He had seen my abandoned bike on the trail, thought ‘gee some dumb person just left their bike,’ realized it was my bike, and rode to the rescue. Nick tackled Poppy as she tried to zip past him on the street and caught her. Phew!

So there it is, my Big Giant Boy came to the rescue to catch the family dog. Someday he will move large pieces of furniture with his dad which is cool. Otherwise, it’s just been another day in social isolation land.

#TBT Here’s Nick and I, circa 2011.

Coronavirus Day 32- Face Masks and DIY Haircuts

Photocredit to Penelope

This afternoon, I cut Nick’s hair in the front yard. Naturally, I would like to take a moment to thank the other unsung heroes of normal, dignified life: the barber. I think I did an okay job. I mean, his new haircut could be much worse.

In the news, states are starting to talk about when they plan to lift the stay-home orders. The earliest date I saw was 30 April, the rest sometime in mid May. Who knows what that really means though. So I’m weary today, so much so that I took Penny on a bike ride to the corner gas station to buy some candy. It’s becoming the norm to see people in masks. I wasn’t wearing one, which I felt uncomfortable about the moment I entered the store. Pretty soon we’ll all be in masks, which is weird.

Virtual School Utopia

Coronavirus Day 31- Don’t Be Anxious For Tomorrow

It was a really nice day today. Frozen blueberries stain everything.

It’s dinner time, and I have one of those giant Costco lasagnas in the oven. Guess what we’ll be eating for the next four days? I woke up really early this morning again to try and get a handle of my projects and things. Between virtual school, meals, sibling fighting and house chores I don’t have much time to sit in front of the computer or run or whatever. So I squeeze it all in in the morning, because I’m a nicer person if I get it all done in peace and quiet. So I was nice today.

I am going to get Bible-y now. There’s that verse in which Jesus says something along the lines of ‘don’t be anxious for tomorrow…yada yada.’ I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist. It’s controversial because I think people always understand this to mean, don’t plan, don’t care, don’t worry; be a bum on the street because, who cares? You’ll have treasures in heaven like eternal life!

Anyway there’s a lot of worrying going on around the world about jobs. But it occurred to me this morning that this Christian call to not worry, in particular about job stuff, applies to me as well even though I’m not the bread winner. My worrying, it turns out, takes the form of frustration for not having answers to things like, are we moving in the fall? Can I pay off this car loan right now? Because I would really like to do these things, you know, cross things off the list. Maybe if I settle into the mystery and uncertainty of things, as it relates to my personal to-do list, that will be me practicing my faith to not worry.