I stuck close to home at the beginning of this pandemic, wearing a mask only when I ventured out in public. Cleaning protocols were simple because there weren’t many visitors in my home. In fact, quarantining had its perks.
I didn’t appreciate the magnitude of change this pandemic had wrought on those whose work required them to be out in the world. Especially those in need of child care. But after accepting a position as interim director of a preschool learning center, I quickly learned.
It wasn’t long before I grew tired of the mask, the whole sanitizing routine, the monotonous monitoring of temperatures by scanning foreheads of adults and children entering the facility. And I was far from alone.
One dad dropping off his tot expressed his frustration one morning: “These masks may be the death of me.” When I looked at him puzzledly, he explained, “Not because of the virus but because they make me so hateful that I’m afraid somebody’s gonna shoot me!”
And I heard stories from both parents and staff. Stories that were heart wrenching.
The teacher fretting over getting to work on time because of staggered start times at her children’s middle and high schools. “I just don’t know how I’m going to do it,” she lamented.
The young mother who dropped by in August to tell me she’ll continue working at home until at least January and how she hopes she can manage her six-month-old baby at home. She struggles to keep little Kohen contained in her arm as he resisted, hoping to wiggle his way to the floor. She went on to tell me how hard her family has been hit by the Coronavirus. Tears flood her eyes as she relates how they haven’t been able to enjoy the new addition to the family.
My heart grew burdened. Angry. I asked God why He hasn’t stopped this pandemic yet.In answer, He turned my attention to the children who filled our classrooms and playgrounds.
Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.Psalm 2:8
Little Nathan, smiling, bursting with energy, going about his business enjoying his best life: unbothered, unfettered, and unthreatened by it all.
And then there was three-year-old Megan. On her way out I heard her say, “Mommy, I can touch Miss Hannah because she’s wearing a mask.” Trying to make sense out of the new normal, she projected contentment.
Then there was the countless parade of children who now smile as they step confidently toward the temperature scanning station.
Not to mention the energetic toddlers who remind their parents to “get some ‘hanitizer’.”
My own grandson telling his mom about his day at preschool: “Whenever I finish playing with a toy, I put it in the Yuck Bucket to be cleaned.”
Kids are so resilient. Part of the reason is because they trust the adults in their life to take care of them. They have faith in the process.
And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 18:3
Children are often life’s best teachers. God sure used them to teach me a few things:
- I can find joy during a pandemic.
- I can trust God to take care of me.
- I can wear a smile on my face.
- I can set an example for those whose path I cross.
Resiliently, I pull my mask over my nose and go make the rounds.