“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:25
I cannot help but think of what it means for children and youth to see their milestones canceled. When I read of high school seniors not able to have a prom, and graduations canceled for all grades, my heart ached for these missed experiences. How do parents manage these disappointments with their children, when they too have lost out on experiences they dreamed to have one day with their children? For families, these milestones often mark a significant accomplishment or period of change, growing, and transition. The graduation from elementary school to middle school marks the beginning of preteen years, and the graduation from high school signifies the arrival of adulthood. Imagine spending a milestone such as a 16th birthday in quarantine? I ache for the children, but my heart also hurts for the parents who must keep their families looking ahead, while having to push aside their own grief. In times like these we must lean on the proverb above, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you”.
It can be difficult to see beyond our current situation, to fix our eyes on the milestones that still lie ahead. There will be bright days again. There will be new milestones, new accomplishments, and even more experiences on the horizon. As Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
I let my heart ache, for grief must be felt, but I also think of how resilient our children will be, and how strong families will become. These children are being measured in ways we have never encountered; parents are parenting in times uncharted. Think of the accomplishments they will be capable of; fix your eyes on the future and what lies ahead for your family. His plans are far bigger than our current circumstance and missing these milestones will be a small part of our journey.
In this resilience we will see children rise to the challenges of today. We have already seen families reconnect and find new ways of being together. This new sense of solidarity and togetherness will help ensure that the new experiences that lie ahead are ones filled with joy and gratitude.
I lift up the parents who are drying little tears and mending broken hearts at dreams that seem to have no celebration. Know that God rejoices. His love encompasses you and promises better things ahead. We are all in this together. Whether it is a cancelled wedding, baby shower, graduation, trip, prom, or any other celebration, know this – more will come. Let us not forget that in these events what we are celebrating is love, growing families, childhood accomplishments, friendship, and joy – all things that still exist! We can choose to be thankful for events that bring celebration. Sure, we may not be able to experience them the same, but the underlying milestone is still there.
Our God is one of abundance. If He leads us to it, He will lead us through it. Do not lose heart and know that it is okay to feel all the emotions you are juggling. Lean on His understanding and look beyond the now to know there is more that awaits us.
Dr. Leanne Badham
Director of Precious Cargo Academy
For parents, grandparents, and guardians nurturing and caring for children and youth.
Lord, please help us to fix our eyes ahead, and see beyond the now. Empower us to stay strong, and to know that your plans guide us in all times. With your strength may we all fix our gaze to what lies before us. Amen.
- Create an obstacle course in your backyard, or even in your living room. Use chairs, hula hoops, rope, toys, chalk, tape, boxes – anything you have on hand. Take turns trying to make your way through the course, and talk about challenges and obstacles that come up, and how you can get through them. Try changing the course around, or add a time limit, and discuss how each time we tackle an obstacle it helps makes us better prepared for the next one.
- Make some edible science! Did you know you can make an oven outside just using tin foil and a cardboard box?! Try making some delicious s’mores for an afternoon treat. Wrap a small flat box, ideally a pizza box or shoe box, in aluminum foil. Place a graham cracker, square or two of chocolate, and top with a marshmallow. If your box has a lid, be sure to prop it open, and do not forget to place your “oven” in sunlight. To keep bugs out, you can put a thin layer of cling wrap over the treats. See how long it takes for the ooey gooey goodness to melt, and then enjoy!