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Our COVID-19 Family Goals and How They're Actually Working (Or Not)

April 6, 2020

HoneyRock is the Outdoor Center for Leadership Development of Wheaton College. Located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, HoneyRock provides transformational outdoor experiences for youth and young adults through summer camp, a gap year, retreats, and more.

The First Day of Ribbe Remote Campus

Today is the first official day of college classes at the “Ribbe Remote Campus”.  Since three of our four adult children have returned home (and all need access to strong wifi), this has been no small challenge. Living in the beautiful Northwoods has its many advantages, but a strong home internet service is not one of them! It looks like I may need to dust off the cookbooks and forego online recipe searches for the time being… 

Setting Family Goals During COVID-19

If you read my devotional about welcoming back adult children from college, you may have seen that we had a family meeting. I thought it might be helpful to share five ideas we set out to try and the true picture of what it actually looks like in action.

  1. Reading a book out loud together every evening. We chose “Garden City” by John Mark Comer. This is a great read that reminds us of the value of work and purpose. With college students around, it’s a timely conversation starter.

    What it actually looks like…About every third evening we can convince all family members to sit, listen, and engage. This is usually accompanied by coloring, doodling, or laying upside down on the couch. But, overall a valuable time. 

  2. Taking turns to plan and make dinner. There’s a total of six people living together in my house, four of whom are college students with big appetites. We decided to take turns planning and making dinner.

    What it actually looks like….Awesome! Everyone’s getting fed, I’m learning some great new recipes from my kids, and it gives me a break. It’s an all-around win. Plus, we’re loving the added bonus of eating together every night.

  3. Expecting everyone to keep the house neat and tidy. I make a list of all the things that need to be done around the house in the morning and leave it on the counter so everyone’s in the know, but I don’t have to ask (read: nag). These are things like taking out the trash, vacuuming, dishes, etc…)

    What it actually looks like….There’s a good effort to clean up obvious messes and so far, the entire list has been completed by the end of the day. I’ve also decided to let go of my HGTV ideals that don’t really matter. I can fluff all the pillows on the couch again after they leave…

  4. Doing something for others. We want to keep the focus on others—how can we help? How can we serve well? There wasn’t really “one” thing we decided on here, but it’s an idea we keep talking about to make sure our mindset is one of others oriented service.

    What it actually looks like…My daughter and I are reading children’s books over FaceTime a few times a week to a few of our friends’ children.  They love the interaction and fun of it. We love seeing their cheery faces, hearing their voices, and staying connected. 

  5. Creating and posting a calendar of class times and other scheduling needs. Thanks to the impeccable organizational skills of my middle son’s girlfriend, we have a great chart on our kitchen wall that shows everyone’s weekly schedule.

    What it actually looks like…It’s working well! The Northwoods does not have awesome wifi, so it’s helpful to see who’s in class and should get bandwidth priority. It’s cut down on arguing over wifi and reminds us of the bigger weekly picture.

All in all, we’re not perfect, but we are trying our best to love well and extend grace to one other. Do we feel bad that we're not knocking these goals out of the park? No. But we still set them, and we do our best.

I am so thankful that we do not have to do it with our own power. I lean on this verse:

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6