For most of us, the last week marked a painful anniversary. There has been a meme going around different social media sites stating that “last year this time was our last normal week and no one knew it.” This is a fitting statement as in the United States we are coming up on the one-year anniversary of how the pandemic’s formal arrival has shifted our lives long-term.
Times are Changing
One thing remains certain: times have changed. Educators have adapted to the virtual interface in many and various ways. I am particularly reminded and comforted by the words of Ecclesiastes 1:9 where we hear:
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
The comfort comes in knowing that there is nothing too new for God, too hard for God, or too foreign for God. He has seen it all and can see us through it all. Our recognition of His omnipresence and omniscience can help us in coping with what seems like a lockdown that has overstayed its time.
How does this relate to our lives in serving our young people? March is typically a month during which classroom teachers and school staff especially feel the length of the month because there are usually few or no scheduled off days. It seems to go on forever! For our students, they are fully launched into the continued changes and alterations of the school day. The reality remains that the screen time has gotten to us all and that learning loss has become more pervasive as the data rolls in on the potential post-pandemic education effects.
The Ultimate Provider
Our Lord continuously provides us with what we need for the day. This is our prayer that Jesus gave in Luke 11. Here, He not only gives us a guide of a simple yet powerful prayer, but goes on to let us peek into a discussion on what conversations with God our Father in heaven ought to be like. He guides our approach in talking through how a loving Father responds to the needs of His children. See verses 11-13:
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Our Father in heaven gives us gifts, good gifts, and one that we cannot forget is the Holy Spirit. As you drudge through this month with no breaks, increased virtual efforts, persevering through loss and a health crisis, please remember that our Father gave us the Holy Spirit to walk alongside us. This is no foreign journey to Him, for nothing is new under the sun when we are walking with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Embracing Much-Needed Breaks
We are in the season of Lent for the Church Year. What is so powerful about this season is the call for reflection, the purposed pause to prepare for the Passion, and the enhanced awareness of what our Lord did on the cross and how we are empowered through His blood to conquer that which we face. I invite you in your continued Lenten reflection to give yourself a break, where it has not been scheduled on the “school or church activities” calendar. Give yourself a break from the screen and embrace God’s creation. This is a good gift from our Father, and a chance to connect and walk and talk alongside the Holy Spirit.
Here’s a list of three practical screen breaks that you can try out for 3-5 minutes each. Remember to care for you as well as your students. Remember to advocate for short breaks with your school administration if they have not been provided as of yet. We are all in this together!
1. Take a walk around the block and focus on ONE WORD or PROMISE from God. Repeat it as you walk.
2. Use breaks from the screen to look out the window in wonder at a portion of God’s creation. When is the last time you truly “cloud watched” or examined a leaf? We do not need to leave these times for childhood alone!
3. Have a purposed stretch. Thank God for the parts of your body inside and outside. Feel your breath and recall how God breathes into us life anew.
We are dust and to dust we shall return. May your Lenten teaching season see breaks to spend time walking with the Savior.
Take a break from the screen by studying the Book of Ecclesiastes with a free Bible study guide below.