What it means to parent in a pandemic

Saturday September 18 2021
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Min Atek

By Min Atek

The call must have come in about 3am. I missed it because I was fast asleep. When I was reading my WhatsApp messages, I saw that the mother had sent me a series of frantic messages. One of her children had not returned home that night and his phone was off.

Perhaps one of the most outstanding long term consequences of the lockdown on learning institutions is the direct impact it will have on an entire generation of learners because two years without formal school will surely come back to bite.

To people who have no school going children, it is easy to brush this matter aside because it does not affect you directly. But if you have children in your home, and live in times where more than half our population are children, you will agree that seeing the children at home and watching them struggle with their learning while they outgrow all their clothes and shoes is disturbing.

When a parent calls you frantically because she has observed some strange behaviour in her children or that the child is absent from home, you can only feel for them in their fear, panic and frustration. What does a parent do?

Frankly, the only answer I know that actually works is to become a deliberately praying parent. There are other options which include worrying and ranting on social media platforms or to friends and neighbours.

The only challenge with these options is that there is no guaranteed answers. And after ranting, you actually expose your children’s weaknesses to people who do not care much for their lives.

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Over the years, I have learnt to run to God in prayer and to have candid conversations about my children. In the times when I feel overwhelmed and the future seems a blur, I run to my secret place and lay all the frustrations at the Master’s feet.

God is NOT overrated. God is all we have. The ongoing pandemic has shaken all our self-believing beliefs because suddenly we are all aware how inadequate and insufficient our efforts are.

When different reports and stories come in about the children, when they do things that shake you to the core and when you feel like throwing your arms up in exasperation, talk to God. Thank Him for how far He has brought you as a parent and trust Him to enable you to finish the journey successfully.

Prayer reminds us that someone bigger than us actually cares about our struggles. In our moments of weakness, the strength of God is made perfect.

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