Focus on Faith

Phil Collins

I feel deeply for our young families with the extra pressures that have placed on them.

My two high school students make sure they have their masks ready, keep their

distance and stay firmly in their cohort. In turn, we must make sure we have completed daily health, or we receive that awkward call from the school. It still amazes me how we forget, actually, dad forgets.

One educator confessed that everything is strained; the school spirit is hard to maintain. Our teachers are outstanding and so dedicated; they do such a great job.

There is a danger that the weight of the world is placed on families as they find their equilibrium constantly shaken.

How can families keep a healthy balance?

Three areas I want to suggest we can focus on are, rest, play, and work.

Let us begin with rest. Be purposeful about decelerating life, gear down, pull over, and experience God’s embrace of your family. Switch off and pause the endless to-do lists. Be on the lookout for how God is at work in your family and celebrate it together. Create holy moments around the meal table. Keep engaged with your church—model devotion and commitment to your children.

Secondly, play, play, play regularly. Schedule play dates, it is not always about long hours with your children to feel deeply valued and seen; it is about quality. Create game nights, film nights, and food nights; let’s empty the store of ice cream and caramel popcorn.

As fall appears, so have board games in our house. I am now being embarrassed by my four kids as we work our way through the many games. I am sure they are designed to show how old I am becoming.

Let’s treat quality time as sacrosanct.

For our older kids, this time can be a way to check how they are coping. They need it, take them for dinner; it may empty the wallet but will fill the soul.

Inspire your children to appreciate what you appreciate. If you are artistic, create a shared art project with your children. Or, if you like bike rides, ask your family to join you. Family participation is the lifeblood through the pain of a pandemic.

And finally, work: right here is my confession; work balance is the hardest for me. I bring it home in bags, physically, and emotionally and although present in body form, I am not always there. My kids are very skilled at pointing out when I am ‘listening’ yet not. We all need a new sense of balance. Keep work in its right place, at work.

I find when I live in the invitation of God in Matthew 11;28, a divine equilibrium is restored.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Phil Collins is pastor at Willow Park Church in Kelowna.