By Dawn Jacobson-Venn
At the end of my last post, I asked you how you are keeping sane and finding peace during this pandemic. Some of you shared that you benefited from maintaining a schedule, others said that networking with others has helped you realize you don’t have to navigate this alone. Our family has been struggling with keeping our sanity just like you. Keeping a schedule has also helped us, so we designate times in our day where we come together, such as mealtime, family worship and walking breaks. During these times we connect and share how things are going with the different tasks that we are trying to accomplish.
We look for activities that our multi-generational household members can enjoy doing together. Playing board games has created many fun memories for us over the years. Sometimes my mom plays, and other times she enjoys watching us play. Her game of choice is Othello and she is good at it! Our family loves to play Dutch Blitz, but my mom just shakes her head as she watches us play. She says it is too fast-paced, and rambunctious for her, but it brings her joy to see us having fun together. Puzzles are another activity that has brought us together. We have completed 2 puzzles in the past 3 weeks and ready to start our third puzzle. It sits on the dining room table and as people pass by, they can add a piece to the puzzle, and it becomes a group project and we can all feel a sense of satisfaction when it is complete.
Sharing hobbies has also brought us closer together. My mom loves birds, plants and sewing, and we have all become more knowledgeable in those areas as a result of her teaching. I have had birdfeeders in our backyard since we moved into our house four years ago, but now we have taken a greater interest as we start to identify the different birds, their names, songs and characteristics. There are more than 28 different birds that come to our feeders and hang out in our backyard and it really has been fun watching them. We are also learning a lot about the plants and trees in our area because of my mom. What a blessing! It is so important that each family member feels validated and that they are making a worthy contribution to the family. Showing interest in my mom’s hobbies has honored her and taught us so much. And likewise, our kids have shared their knowledge and interests with grandma, even showing her more things she can do on her smart phone. I won’t lie, they help me with my phone all the time!
Probably one of our favorite things to do with my mom is listening to her tell stories from when she was young. When she does, we record her voice, take a video or write it down. She remembers WWII, and the Great Depression, so she can relate to what is happening in our world right now. She is not worried or scared. I am thankful for her faith in God and calm assurance that has impacted our family and the atmosphere in our home.
What activities is your family doing together during COVID-19?
Next time I will share what happens when family schedules and activities don’t go as planned and everything seems to backfire?
Dawn Jacobson-Venn, M.A.T. Educator and administrative assistant for the Department of Family Ministries at the General Conference.