Lacey Blocker 6th/7th English Language Arts teacher
A Focus on Our Family
Written by Lacey Blocker
The last couple of months have been a struggle for many Louisiana families. For me personally, not teaching in my classroom everyday doing one of the things I know I was created to do has been a challenge. I miss my students. I miss my coworkers. I miss my church and family.
However, one important truth I learned early on during the quarantine was even though I was aware of the adversities that came along with a pandemic, my 5-year-old daughter was completely oblivious. Through her eyes, this was a time to experience adventures with mommy: eat meals together, cook together, read with each other, watch movies, and the list goes on and on! I quickly learned I had the power to make this a memorable time for her.
Maybe instead of this being a season of panic, I could help create a season of peace for her, shifting any of her fears to increasing her faith. When the world around her is unstable, I know it is my job to provide a strong foundation. It dawned on me, I wanted her to be able to look back in 10 years and think, “Those were some of my happiest childhood memories.” Because of this new reality, I strived to adjust my thinking and shift my perspective.
While the school year has officially ended, giving additional love and attention to our families becomes even more crucial. Our families need us now more than ever! Their mental and physical well-being depends on how we invest in them. This is a time to pour into our children, spouses, and possibly extended loved ones.
I recently came across a story about the importance of family. In his book “In the Eye of the Storm” Max Lucado recounts the following details:
“Clovis Chappel, a minister from a century back, used to tell the story of two paddleboats. They left Memphis about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. As they traveled side by side, sailors from one vessel made a few remarks about the snail’s pace of the other. Words were exchanged. Challenges were made. And the race began. Competition became vicious as the two boats roared through the Deep South. One boat began falling behind. Not enough fuel. There had been plenty of fuel for the trip, but not enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the ovens. When the sailors saw the supplies burned as well as the coal, they fueled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. They ended up winning the race but burned their cargo. God has entrusted cargo to us, too: children, spouses, friends. Our job is to do our part in seeing that this cargo reaches its greatest potential.”
This story reminded me of two very important lessons relating to our families. The first lesson is sometimes the jobs of life can take precedent over the family it was meant to support. While our jobs are important and vital to our survival, our family is indeed precious cargo. Time with our family is irreplaceable. The summer provides great opportunities to spend with family. Here are a few ideas that can help you engage your children or teens during this time.
Go for a walk or hike with your family
Cook a healthy meal together
Play a board game
Family movie night
Teach your children a life lesson appropriate to their age – such as folding clothes, making their bed, checking air in the car tires, balancing a check book, sewing, or making a craft
Go on a picnic
Read a book or story
Keep a journal
Write letters to elders in your local nursing home
While the summer months may not be exactly what we are accustomed to, there are still many creative ways we can have fun with our family. I recently started a bingo game of activities with my daughter to help engage in some of the activities listed above. Check out the Summer Bucket List I created to help engage your children or teens.
Another lesson I learned from Max Lucado’s illustration reveals that as parents we shouldn’t burn the cargo to win the race. The cargo, our family, is the reason for the journey in the first place. Our children and family should be the priority not the sacrifice to other tasks. One of my beliefs as an educator is that our students are not distractions from more important work, they are the MOST important work! This rings true for our own children as well.
As a parent I am learning that children are only young for a short season. I am working diligently to make the most of this very important season in my own daughter’s life. Any person can be her teacher. I’m the only one who can be her mom! I hope the lessons I have learned during quarantine will help you as you continue making the most of this time with your own family throughout the summer months. It would be a shame if we go through this entire epidemic and don’t learn anything through it and life resumes exactly the same way it was before the quarantine. Knowing what I know now, I’m sure it won’t be. I’ll be happier, and I believe my family will be better off for it. I know yours can be as well.