This Fall a little boy in my neighborhood started preschool. I can see his house from my front window, and I love to watch him skip to his car in the morning with his Daniel the Tiger backpack and matching lunchbox. He climbs into his car seat with evident excitement for what is in store for his day at school. He’s a typical preschooler yet his preschool experience is far from typical. Along with crayons and markers his school supplies include facemasks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.This little boy has never known a school-day without a mask. He doesn’t know that seeing his teacher and classmates in facemasks is not a typical preschool experience. And while wearing masks in school may be normal to him, there is still so much that is not. Though he is young, he is old enough to know that the presence of masks means there is an invisible sickness that everyone is hoping to escape.
From preschoolers to the elderly, the pandemic has affected everyone. In the last year we had to restructure how we did work, church, school, family and social life and none of it was easy for anyone. In addition to the stress of all the changes is the looming threat of sickness. It makes sense that even while children are adapting, they are also feeling anxious and confused. And parents, having never parented through a pandemic before, can feel uncertain about how to help children feel at ease while, at the same time helping them understand the need for significant caution. Parents want to point their children to the wisdom of protocols but don’t want them to miss the comfort that God provides in times like these.
I was recently given a copy of a book that I feel will be a big help for families with young children. God Cares for Me by Scott James could not be more right-on-time! I read it and knew this is a book parents will be grateful to have. It’s begins with a scenario that any child will find relatable. Lucas, a young boy wakes up not feeling well. As the story unfolds, the author empathetically captures the feelings children have when facing sickness. In an engaging way, the story highlights the comfort of God and the importance of loving others even while we are sick. My favorite part of this book is how it uses Scripture as the main teaching tool throughout the story. The pictures are charming. The bright and cheery colors sure help when you are talking about something as gloomy as being sick. On a side note, I was personally encouraged to see diversity in the characters and roles being represented to children as they read this book. Hats off to the illustrator and the publisher for their intentionality.
As a parent I appreciate stories that help children trust God in real-life situations. As a counselor I love resources that can help families turn the challenges kids face into gospel opportunities. God Cares for Me does both! This is a season of learning for all of us, and some of what we learn will remain important even after the threat of the pandemic subsides. The lessons of love in this book are enduring. You can find this book at New Growth Press and I recommend you go grab a copy for the child or grandchild in your life. While you wait for it to arrive you can check out this video clip where I share more tips on parenting through a pandemic.