What did the kids learn from you during the Great Virus?

Happy family sit on sofa having fun together at home

There is a famous propaganda poster that was used during the Great War. A picture of a father and his two children with the question, ‘Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?’ It obviously works, because it reminds us that kids are looking to us in the midst of crisis and uncertainty.

I finished school over twenty years ago but I still clearly remember my teachers. Whilst I’d struggle to actually remember any of the particular lessons they taught me, I do remember the type of people they were. I remember their character, what they were passionate about and importantly how they responded to different situations.

When we look back on this period of history, I wonder what our kids will remember? They might remember some days off, some boredom at home, some weird meals eaten, what else? What I think they will remember is how the adults around them responded.

What are kids learning from you at the moment? With the recent bushfires I think that kids learnt some amazing lessons. They learnt about sacrifice. They learnt about how valuable positive words are. They learnt that small acts of compassion can have massive effects on people. They learnt the power of volunteering. They learnt how amazing it can be when the community rallies together. They learnt that when we sacrifice some of our own comforts, it means that others who might be suffering can be comforted.

What about with this Coronavirus? What are the kids learning? They’re watching the way we talk about people who may (or may not) have the virus. They’re watching how (or if) we look out for others. They’re learning whether (or not) we should make decisions based on what’s best for me or on what’s best for the wider community. They’re learning how (or whether we should) engage with an overload of information. Right now they’re learning how to respond to crisis and uncertainty. They’re watching us. They’re learning from us.

There’s a cool story in the Bible where Jesus’ Disciples are out on a boat in the middle of the sea when they’re hit by a massive storm – a real cracker! The Disciples are absolutely petrified! They’d seen storms, but not like this. In the uncertainty as the storm raged on, they began to lose hope… and then Jesus came to them, walking on the water. He told them not to be afraid, he calmed the storm and it stopped. Just like that.

I was thinking about this story last night (when I couldn’t sleep). I wonder why he appeared to them walking on the water? He could have just appeared in a puff of smoke, that might have been cool. He could have done a Star Trek ‘beaming down’ onto the boat. He simply strode out to them in the most normal of ways. I mean sure he showed his power and control over all things, he showed his ‘God-ness’. But it’s interesting that he walked out to them?

I wonder if it’s almost a picture of what Jesus did when he stepped down into our world? It’s like Jesus stepped into the uncertainty and craziness of our storm and showed us how to live calmly and beautifully.

There’s no denying that we’re in the midst of a ‘storm’. There’s no denying that it’s uncertain. What we’re facing is ‘unprecedented’ and these are ‘unchartered waters’. But I reckon Jesus showed us how to live calmly and beautifully in the midst of these storms! He urged us to enjoy this beautiful and complex world that we live in. He called us to be thankful for the many amazing things we’ve been given. He urged us to respond with forgiveness and mercy. He urged us not to worry. He urged us to look out for the weak and the marginalised. He urged us to love others.

Jesus taught us how to live calmly and beautifully in the midst of the storms. What are we teaching our kids in the midst of this one?

Rev. Paul Hodge
School Chaplain

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