December 5, 2020

COVID-19 – Sharing Good News

The message of God to the world comes not through natural phenomena like coronavirus but through the good news proclaimed by and embodied in a people who bear his name. “War, plague, and famine” are not severe words from God. They are groans of a broken creation into which God sends his word of faith, hope, and love through Jesus-shaped people. – Chaplain Mike

Chaplain Mike has been reading my mind this week, ending his post yesterday at the spot where I wanted to start mine. How do we want to model Jesus in this time of disaster? By being his hands and feet. Mike’s note: Before leaving this page, make sure that you at least scan down to the end of this post to see some great resources for parents with kids at home.

My mind started thinking about how we can be Jesus’ hands and feet last Friday when my cousin Jesse posted the following on Facebook:

If there are any Fernie residents who are seniors, or immune-compromised, who might be wary of heading out in public or to get groceries, please let them know I am willing to help deliver groceries or help in other ways. I will be free to do so this coming Wednesday onwards, and am eager to help calm this chaos! If you know of anyone please send me a DM and I can connect with them. Spread love not fear. – Jesse

I know her post inspired at least six others to act in similar ways. I thought to myself, “we are facing an pandemic that is growing exponentially, we need actions of love to spread exponentially as well.”

Over the next couple of days other family and friends posted similar things:

For any of my friends or family struggling with COVID-19,

If you need prayer or encouragement, message me! I would love to chat through Messenger, video calls, or whatever form works best. This is especially true for all you university students!!

If you are sick or elderly and need groceries or supplies, my friends and I at my church are looking to serve within our church community and the wider community!… – Drew

If anyone needs help delivering groceries or supplies to your home in light of the Coronavirus scare, please let me know. Happy to help. – Patrick

Hi friends (especially students)! At such a chaotic time, with some of us are moving home and many foodbanks running dry, I challenge us to consider the most vulnerable and needy people in our city. If you have any perishable or non-perishable food or hygiene products you are willing to give away please message me, Kalina or Elysia FT this week and we can pick them up from your house and deliver them to a local foodbank. – Hannah

I started hearing of a number of groups being formed to assist others, a health food store matching singles with seniors.

The list of those offering help continues to grow exponentially. In my town of half a million, nearly 1 out of every 100 residents has signed up to help through just one such site! I am hearing similar stories all over our country.

Another friend, Krista, who has just finished homeschooling her three children, realized that what she could offer was twenty years of experience of providing a meaningful time at home for multiple children. Every day she has been posting multiple suggestion and resources that she has found helpful.

I am going to wind up this post here with my final comments. You can then scroll through some of her suggestions below.

We all have ways we can help. Even the simple act of calling someone who is housebound on the phone to chat is a significant act of grace. I look forward to reading in your comments some of the good news that you have heard, or ideas that you have, or things that you are doing, that might be of help to others reading this post, or the community at large. Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

>Here is some of what Krista has had to offer over the past week, the first set can serve as a template for some of the others.

Resources for kids at home:

March 15 at 5:08 PM

For those of you with kids suddenly at home due to school closures, I’m sharing what a dear friend wrote up regarding homeschooling…..

I am seeing some comments from overwhelmed parents suddenly thrust into homeschooling their kids, with no opportunity to prepare. If I could offer a little perspective from 30 years of homeschooling, I’d suggest not trying to replicate school at home. Instead, focus on what you can do better at home, than they can do in a school setting.

1 Read lots and lots and lots of good books. Use audiobooks if your voice gets tired.

2 Bake together, and use the opportunity to practice measuring and maybe fractions.

3 Start some seedlings and learn about how seeds sprout and what plants need to grow.

4 Play outside, and don’t feel guilty about it. Play facilitates brain development.

5 Take nature walks, use different senses to find evidence of spring.

6 Do art projects together.

7 Help them set up journals where they can record and process their thoughts and experiences.

8 Maybe do an audio recording and/or drawing and/or cutting out magazine pictures for pre-writers.

9 Play some math or reasoning based games. Yahtzee, 21, that game with a grid of dots where you try to complete boxes, I’m sure there are tons of ideas online!

10 Create a skit or a short play together.

11 Play music from various favorite composers, and learn about their lives.

12 Ditto for looking at art from famous artists.

13 Play geography based games.

14 Plan an imaginary trip to an intriguing location. Learn all you can about what to see and do there, their culture, food, history, etc.

15 Begin learning a foreign language.

16 Learn to knit, crochet, sew a simple project, etc.

17 Bundle up, drive to a darker location, and go stargazing on a clear night. Download an app to identify what you’re seeing.

You’ve got this, mom or dad.
It is a short blip in 12+ years of schooling. Your kids will be fine. They really will.💕

March 15 at 5:13 PM

Virtual Field Trips

March 16 at 2:16 PM
Now is your chance to be just as enchanted with Gerald and Piggie as me and my students are!

Lunch Doodles with Mo Williams!

 

 

 

March 16 at 11:08 PM
The Institute for the Excellence in Writing is a phenomenal program.
They are offering free curriculum…
Try it out with your kids!
Even if you just do some creative writing – rewrite a fairy tale or a process essay – how to make KD…

Yesterday at 8:02 AM
If you and your kids want to learn about space….

 

 

 

Yesterday at 8:46 AM
Self directed learning so the kids are learning while you are working…
Mike’s note: A whole bunch of different sites branch from this one. Some of them my kids have used in the past to help with their homework. I know the first link (Khan Academy) is extremely high quality.

Yesterday at 8:49 AM
Making math fun…

 

 

 

Yesterday at 9:37 AM
Now is your chance to be a Disney Imagineer…
Young and Old – dreams do come true!

Comments

  1. I have a coworker, a Pentecostal Christian with whom I often do not see eye-to-eye on many social, political, and religious matters. His wife is a respiratory therapist for the neonatal unit of a large regional hospital in our area. Yesterday I told him that I would be praying for her through this time, as I know that she will shortly be facing an onslaught of traumatic and life-threatening challenges in her work on a daily, ongoing basis — if she hasn’t already. May God be with her and all medical personnel as they fight this war.

    • I wish I could do more to help. But, as an at risk person, along with my wife, due to age and chronic health issues, and as people with very limited financial resources for whom this crisis is an existential economic threat to the viability of our livelihood, the main way I have to help is to avoid getting infected, at least for as long as possible, so that neither I nor my wife need hospitalization during a surge that could swamp the health care system.

  2. Math and reasoning games? We’ve got you covered! 😉

    https://roll20.net/

    https://www.fantasygrounds.com/home/home.php

    • Michael Z says

      One of my favorite tabletop role playing resources:

      https://www.2minutetabletop.com/

      It’s a bunch of maps, etc. all drawn by one guy, in a whimsical cartoony style a little bit reminiscent of Calvin & Hobbes. My brother (who has three young kids) has found that they enjoy just printing out a map and then collaboratively creating a story about what they find as they explore it. (They’re too young for dice and stat sheets, though.)

  3. Adam Tauno Williams says

    The deluge of assistance is nearly overwhelming. I’m chair of the Neighborhood Association, and this evening I have to make time to sit down and go through it all – in very depressing times that is a ‘good’ problem to have.

    On the other hand the layoffs began, at scale, yesterday; lighting up all the platforms.

    It is going to be sunny here this weekend. Going outside for awhile is a good idea.

    • anonymous says

      challenges lead to new solutions with new applications down the road

      ‘change’ of any kind disturbs the status quo,
      and something requiring desperate ‘solutions’ is catnip to the human spirit

  4. Michael Z says

    The biggest message the coronavirus is teaching us is how tightly our lives are all bound together, even with total strangers, and how interdependent we are. A well-functioning economy is a beautiful thing: a vast network of human beings working together to build and produce and create more than any of us could on our own. And there’s also beauty in societies founded on concern for the common good, where everyone is willing to sacrifice a little bit of their own freedom or comfort for the sake of their neighbor. The communities that are able to pull together in that way will come through this stronger than ever.

    • The meaning of the Greek word economia is “household” – takes in far more than simply money.

      Dana

    • anonymous says

      when people come together and contribute to a solutuion together, there is a force released called SYNERGY where the combined effort is greater than the sum of the whole

      looks like its been a long time since our country pulled together to solve a problem that affects us all, so maybe this ‘trial’ will let some of our old pioneer DNA fire up and be put to good use . . . that DNA is ‘in there’ and it is something unique in this world and probably the reason WHY people have, until now, looked to America for leadership in the world

    • –> “…and how interdependent we are.”

      A friend and I were just discussing how a “service industry nation” (such as America seems to be the past decade) is VERY MUCH INTERDEPENDENT. “I’ll buy your service, you can now afford to pay for a different service, and they can now afford my service.” If there’s a glitch in one of those, look out.

      We need each other.

  5. steven swett says

    My best friend and I organized a loose coalition of people who can easily give up $1000 a month , especially with the golf club being shut down and dining out not going to happen. We got a good amount of money and with a trusted to validate the money was given out properly , we went to restaurants, car washes, bars and many places we collectively frequent. We gave the good workers who are going to get hit hard anywhere from $100 to $300 until the money ran out. No qkuestions, no strings, no fan fare, just directly to them . It was the best money we have spent in a long time, perhaps ever as the need was there and we did something quick, not a game changer in the world but for most it meant a lot. We plan on doing this once a month , if we can as long as we can. We limited the amount of our group to 5 who actually pass out the money so all could experience the wonderful feeling of giving. Again not a world changer or anything more than a symbol to our friends that we are with them. Face to face immediate giving gave me a feeling I did not expect. Not about our “group” except that it touched us deeply and more than we thought. Again , this is not about what we did , it is about the grateful appreciation of our working friends who are facing tough financial times. It is like the starfish on the beach story, we do the best we can. Should we give to an organized , official organization? We decided not to as we know the bureaucratic waste and time lag. We are hoping more join us next month. Young man at one place gave half of his $300 to a co worker with a major financial issue, he did it immediately without hesitation , how humbling to us. Anyway , good news stories are popping up all over in many areas, neighbor helping neighbor etc and all are feel good stories but resonate with most of us. Again , not about what we did but what we received. My friends are not super wealthy and the amount is a small sacrifice that they can and want to handle. Compared to the people out really working and keeping things going money is the easiest thing to give. People always talk about money , what it means , what it buys etc., to me one thing money gives in our society is freedom. Money gives you freedom to make choices not available to those who have access to money supply. That is all money gives in day to day life. My hope is that the government does step in and give a basic level of economic support to those in our nation who will need it and act quickly. If all pull together , there may be a positive out of this and that would be really resetting our priorities., M. Z and Dana good thoughts.

    • anonymous says

      bravo to this

    • Awesome account.

      A board game store opened up near me about a year ago. As a gamer, I frequent the place, know the owner pretty well, etc. COVID-19 could seriously impact him and his business as he makes a good deal of his money via in-store gaming/player and now he’s basically running it as “drop in, look, buy, then leave.” I dropped in the store earlier in the week to buy something in order to show my support, but nothing leapt out at me, “BUY ME!” So instead, I got several $50 gift cards and sent them to my board game friends, telling them, “Go buy yourself something and support the store!”

      And then I realized that I’ve helped two sets of people: my gaming friends AND the store!

      So that’s another idea for folks to try… gift cards from stores bless the stores and the people you give them to!

    • Wonderful action!

    • thatotherjean says

      Thank you all, for recognizing an immediate need, and acting to fill it. Well done!

  6. Christiane says

    Michael Bell, what a great post! So many good ideas. Thank you!