“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Winston Churchill is credited with first saying this in the mid-1940s as we were approaching the end of World War ll. As the world around us seems to be slowly reopening, we have the opportunity to use a little hindsight and see how we have handled this crisis as a family unit.
About a year ago, I wrote about saying goodbye to something I loved to make more room for my family. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt a tug on my heart to clear space and dive in deeper to family time. I waded through the uncomfortable truth that I was spending too many nights avoiding bedtimes.
I realize now that this past year was a training ground for the current social isolation. I’m so incredibly thankful that I was eased into this. Here are the lessons I’m learning during social isolation, making sure I don’t let one second of this crisis go to waste.
You are never fully dressed without a smile
You might find me in my pajamas at 5:30pm, after we have gone swimming as a family, but you probably won’t find me without a smile. I can personally attest to many arguments that have been stopped in their tracks with a smile. My husband has the sweetest demeanor whenever I get cranky. One wonderful smile from him and I’m usually back on track and ready to hit pause on whatever it was I thought was oh-so-important to criticize at the moment.
As I use this same tactic on my children, I can tell you that many of these times, they melt into tired little puddles of snuggles when I slow down, get on their level, and smile.
All you need is love
Our children have watched us under a microscope these past few weeks. We are right there in front of them 100% of the time. They see us tired, happy, anxious, excited, emotional, confused, afraid, strong, creative, and in love. I have this precious chance to show them how to act in kindness and friendship towards their dad. I can show them how to say “I’m sorry” or “can I help?” When I consider the ways I want them to treat their future spouse, I can show them how beautiful that can look.
Let your children see you, really see you. Last night, we were sitting around the dinner table after dinner, talking about what the rest of the week looked like. My oldest son shared that he had an art project due. I offered to let him borrow my ‘fancy watercolors’. My oldest daughter commented that she had forgotten that I liked to paint. All four other children couldn’t believe that they didn’t know that I liked to paint. I had put everything away years ago and had just never found the time to get it out again.
Let them see you read, bake, pray, paint, sew, give gifts, sing, or dance. Whatever it is that makes you the beautiful person you are today, let them see it. What a wonderful time that they can get to know the beautiful you!
So, dear mamas, don’t let a good crisis go to waste. Pour yourself and your love into your family. This heroic act may not end up in any newspaper, but it will be written on your child’s heart. And someday, when their children ask them if they remember the pandemic in 2020, they will grin and remember their family and the special way they grew in love through the crisis.