“Do you have your masks, girls?” This is a question I never dreamed I would ask my girls every morning as they leave for school. I am sure none of us parenting school age children would have ever believed we would need to say, “grab your lunchbox, grab your mask and backpack” like a mask is a part of the daily uniform.
But I do. But we do. And it is.
The mask has become a part of students’ uniforms. Starting a new school this year was more than unsettling as we sent them into a place which they had never stepped, with people they had never met, hidden behind masks and desk shields.
The first day of school for my 6th grader and 3rd grader was the first time I have ever cried dropping them off. So much unknown. So much so new. So much hidden behind masks and shields. Yet the resilience of these girls, and their fellow students, has been remarkable.
Dictionary.com defines resilience as “the ability of a person to adjust or recover readily from illness, adversity or major life changes.”
Resilience, my girls, and I am sure you have seen it in your own kids, to go to school day after day with masks and shields, without complaining, without allowing the adversity and change to change them.
The dictionary also compares resilience to the elasticity of a rubber band and the buoyancy of a buoy. It’s true, my kids are way more flexible (physically and structurally) and buoyant than I am. They roll with things. Their little feathers get ruffled but their resilience persists and they spring back.
My girls are my constant teachers. They cause me to reflect, to adjust and grow in my own short falls. They challenge me to live free and to live whole-hearted. A good friend of mine who is more like an older sister, often reminds me that they are “ALIVE” and living as God has made them.
Matthew 18:3 says, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Become like children. Be remarkably resilient. Even when resilience is masked.
Throughout the pandemic they have taught me to live alive, and to not let the mask keep me from being free. They taught me to complain less. They demonstrate what great, amazing kids they are, on a daily basis. I have been so proud as a parent to watch them thrive in school, make new friends and adjust not only to a new school but to wearing masks.
If I am honest, I would leave the end of the school day in tears because I would feel suffocated. The mask makes me feel trapped, like my human rights have been stripped away after only wearing a mask for an hour while going to the grocery store. I grumble and I complain about it.
My kids have exposed my unremarkable lack of resilience. They expose my desire to breathe fresh air and have better breath. Any other added restrictions, separation of community, of church and people is just too much.
What strikes me is that not only do they not complain about the masks and shields but our perspectives are so different. For example, when I look at this situation – wearing the masks and virtual everything – I see what has been lost, what I have given up, what we as a church and people have given up.
But my kids don’t focus on the loss, or reflect on the past, they live in the present and make the most of the moment, right where they are planted. They don’t laugh less, or emote less energy and enthusiasm for life. They are still the same kids – with remarkable masked resilience.
Their resilience could easily go unnoticed because they have made little issue of how they now have to go to school. It’s become a non-issue and just a part of going to school, like the pleated skirts and polos they wear to school everyday – just another piece of their uniform.
In the book of James we read, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
These kids, whether virtual or in person schooling have been resilient. They have stood the test. They have made the most of learning amid glitches, gaps, and masks. It’s no wonder that having faith like a child is how God desires us to come to him. He wants us to come to him, in trials with a heart of resilience so he can shine bright in and through us.
Jesus is shining his light brightly through students as they make the best, make the most of learning despite a myriad of challenges they have been faced with. I believe they will come out stronger for it. I know I have been challenged and changed because of their resilience.
My challenge for you today is to pray for the students in your life and for the teachers who are impacted dramatically by the pandemic. Praise them for their remarkable masked resilience.
As you pray, ask God to show you how you can live more childlike, more resilient like the stretch of a rubber band and the bounce of a buoy on the ocean waves. I think we all thought this season of mask wearing would be over by now – and the mask burning parties would have been a part of our distant past.
I wish I knew how long this season would last, or that there was a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. But only God knows. In the meantime, let’s not miss out on the lessons that are all around from the chances to slow down and draw closer to the heart of God, to learning from our kids to be more resilient.
If you are feeling overwhelmed today, and not feeling very resilient, listen to this song and be reminded, hope is not lost, and you are going to be okay. I will leave you with a song from Brian and Jenn Johnson called, “You’re Going to be Okay”.
If you are looking to take your relationship with Christ to a deeper level, I encourage you to check out the resources on my website, and get a copy of my 8-week devotional called Ascent to Know Him: The Quest to Discover More of God.
Thanks for stopping by and I will see you back here next week!