By: Fiona Leikness
With COVID-19 continuing to be an influence on our lives, many of us are gradually becoming more comfortable with doing our work and school entirely online. However, even as we become more comfortable with a digital life, many of us are also becoming increasingly aware of the damages that increased time on the internet can have on us. One of the biggest issues that many parents and their children face is the increased social isolation and loneliness. For many of us, one of the most disheartening effects we see with our children is massively increased screen-time. On top of that, they may see people in online classes, but are not getting that human connection that many of us crave. It’s important that we take the time now to prepare ourselves to move forward with faith and look forward to the time when COVID-19 will finally pass.
While we want our children to live happy, healthy, socially-connected lives, it can be troubling to see them developing isolating habits that could easily follow them long after this crisis passes. As much as our time may be filled with online work and school, many of us still find ourselves with a surplus of time at home that we simply don’t know what to do with. During the October 2020 conference, Elder Ulisses Soares warned, “Despite our continuous efforts to seek out the Lord, inappropriate thoughts may penetrate our mind. When such thoughts are permitted and even invited to stay, they can shape the desires of our hearts and lead us to what we will become in this life eventually to what we will inherit for eternity.”
As we and our families deal with increased isolation, it can become that much more difficult to keep inappropriate or wandering thoughts at bay. The internet, especially, can pose a tremendous hazard to the bored and curious mind. In order to prepare to face these difficulties of isolation, it’s important to prepare ways to keep our bodies and minds positively engaged.
Seeking After Christ
One of the many activities we can prepare with is scripture study. Elder Kelly R. Johnson spoke during the October 2020 general conference sharing, “During this time of restricted gathering that makes regular temple attendance impossible, I have actually made a point to continue to study and learn more about the power of God that comes to us as we make and keep temple covenants.” In following Elder Johnson’s example, the time we may have spent outside the home can be used in pursuing personal scripture study. This can be especially beneficial for our children as well as we seek to include them in our scripture study. We can set better examples for our spouses and children through our own desire to grow closer to our Heavenly Father.
What We Can Do Today
Spending time in nature and in spiritually-focused activities like scripture study and Family Home Evening can truly heal the soul and strengthen our spirits. If you aren’t already doing the following, make a goal to do one of these today.
- Weekly and Daily Scripture Study
- Check out scripture study bingo cards
- Try doing a scripture scavenger hunt
- Teach your kids your favorite topics that your testimony is built on (tithing, eternal marriage, the power of grace, etc.)
- Family Home Evening
- Assign one of your children to organize and run FHE from time to time
- Include a post-FHE snack as a reward
- Bear your testimony and encourage your kids to do the same
- Daily Walks
- Explore something new in your town
- Have a family photo scavenger hunt
- Express your gratitude for nature to your kids so they can join in
- Video Calls
- Reach out to cousins and other extended family you haven’t seen in a long time
- Have your kids teach your parents or other older family members how to use this technology
Of course, each family’s experience will be different, but there’s a lot that we still share. As we seek to prepare ourselves for the trials we may face going forward, we should always remember to lift one another up and support our family members. When you and your family are all the social interaction you’ve got, then you need to be able to make the most of it. Preparation is more than just an overflowing food storage, it is also the relationships we have with our loved ones and with God.
For more information, be sure to check out Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age, available on Amazon! Still want more? Then be sure to read Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good, also available on Amazon.
Fiona Leikness is an editor and writer for Educate and Empower Kids and a student at BYU-I. She is currently studying English with an emphasis on creative writing and editing.
Peace is Closer than You Think!
“Living the gospel does not mean the storms of life will pass us by, but we will be better prepared to face them with serenity and peace. ‘Search diligently, pray always, and be believing,’ the Lord admonished, ‘and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly.’”–Joseph B. Wirthlin
Are You Ready for An Amazing Family Home Evening?
My book 30 Days to a Stronger Child is a great resource for creating a meaningful and fun Family Home Evening. The book includes helpful lessons, activities, and discussion questions to help you and your children fill their emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and intellectual accounts. Use this book as a supplement for the new Children and Youth Program or alone, you will see a huge difference in your family!
Is Tech Controlling Your Life?
Join Noah on his journey of discovery. Noah receives a smartphone for his birthday and immediately becomes so entranced by it that he forgets about life away from his phone. He like all the other kids likes to chat and post funny things online with their phones, but is it really funny? What happened to life without a phone? What will Noah’s discovery be? Welcome Noah’s New Phone to your family library and see how your children’s and your tech use changes.