Your Responses During COVID-19 Will Influence Your Children and Grandchildren in Ways You Might Someday Regret and Hope They Will Forget

by Paul Tautges | July 28, 2020 10:57 am

This strange time we’re living in will likely shape many things in your children’s life… most notably their hearts. However, it is not actually living during this pandemic that will shape them, but more importantly it’s how they and you respond to our current situation that will do much to shape their hearts. That’s why it’s a great time to be a parent! You have the opportunity to use this time to dramatically impact their hearts! During this pandemic we’re faced daily with new information, plans, and changes that we must process and that we then respond to and react to. Every gamut of life is impacted – work, leisure, relationships, ministry, family, school, etc.

Parents are called by God to shepherd their children – to guide them and teach them. Some of that shepherding happens during formal times of teaching, devotions, Bible reading, and talking about Sunday’s worship service. Some of that shepherding happens in more natural ways. When the Lord gave the Law to the Israelites it was meant to help them know Him and know how to follow Him. At the same time, he commissioned parents to teach their children this law, not just in formal ways, but in the daily organic aspects of life. We see this commissioning in Deuteronomy 6:6-7[1] “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” In the New Testament we see Jesus modeling this form of discipleship. He taught spiritual truths using everyday things around him. He taught not just in formal settings but also as he walked and rested and visited people in their homes.

Shepherding happens in all spheres of life. As a parent you are never really not shepherding. Let me say that another way: As a parent you are always shepherding! This involves helping your children understand themselves and the world in which they live. You shepherd your children by the things you teach them during devotions, prayer time, and family worship. But you cannot shepherd them merely by instruction. You shepherd them also by how you live, how you respond to life. Proverbs 13:20[2] tells us “He who walks with the wise becomes wise.” The reality is that much of our formal instruction is actually watered and nurtured in the organic moments of our days. A parent can teach their children what the Bible says about God being sovereignly in control. But it’s when they see and hear how we respond to the ever-changing world around us that they begin to question whether God really is in control. Shepherding happens during deep interaction during car rides, chatting over a game or at the dinner table, or during prayers of repentance (both our own and our child’s). Shepherding also happens when we don’t even realize it, as our children watch and listen to how we react to the news, other people, and situations in our lives.

This is true in every year for every child. Today, during this pandemic, shepherding happens as our children witness our reactions, frustrations, and interactions with this new world in which we live. Shepherding happens when they hear our response to the latest virus information or how we respond when we receive the school or church plans for fall.  

No matter what is happening in each arena of our life there will be disappointments, things we don’t agree with, and things we would like to be done differently. But the plans and news around us is not the most shaping impact on our children. How you as a parent respond will be what impacts them the most directly.How do your children see and hear you respond to all that is happening? What are you teaching them about our God’s place in all of this? What are you demonstrating about the intersection of faith and trials, of faith and living in a fallen world? Here are some suggestions for shepherding well during this pandemic.

Shepherding a child’s heart does not happen on a schedule. It happens every day all day long, especially during these days we are living in. What a great time to be a parent! You have daily opportunities to shepherd during one of the most unusual times in history! Take a few minutes and examine your heart before the Lord. How are you shepherding your child’s heart during this time? What attitudes and character qualities are they learning from you? How is their heart being trained by how they see and hear you respond? May God strengthen you and guide you as you shepherd your child. You are in my prayers!

*This post is written by Bobette Hatteberg, director of Children’s Ministries at our church, and was originally published here.[3]

  1. Deuteronomy 6:6-7:
  2. Proverbs 13:20:
  3. originally published here.:

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