Parent’s Perspective: What if? By Heidi Gottshall, mother of Isaiah


I imagine it’s easy for most of us to list all the things we’ve been missing since the stay-home order began. Things like the regular and welcomed events that come with school-age kids, like spring sports, concerts, helping in the classroom, the annual talent show, graduations, and perhaps traveling near or far. The list is endless depending on each family’s situation.


We have two kids in college and a 7th grade son at Hope. My husband is retired so we haven’t had the work changes that many have faced. I began wondering, though, What if the pandemic didn’t happen? What if there wasn’t a stay-home order beginning mid-March 2020? What if our 21 year old daughter and 19 year old son were still going about their campus lives, work, and busy social lives?


Contemplating these questions has helped me appreciate what we would have missed:


*Coming together as a family to bring our college freshman home, with only hours to pull it off; it became a mission, “Operation Extricate Noah”, as our daughter dubbed it.


*Family meetings and emotional conversations to process and understand the reality of this world-wide crisis, a humbling experience to face our vulnerabilities and exercise our faith in a sovereign God.


*Watching our two adult kids grapple with and ultimately accept their disappointments with plans stopped in their tracks, recognizing our actions can affect others’ well-being.


*Watching our 7th grader hit the street running with transition to online school, taking complete ownership of his schedule, tasks, piano practice and down time.


*Creativity taking flight…with artistic sketching, baking, sewing (face masks!), gardening, music, creating items to sell, and learning new skills like meal preparation and skateboarding.


*Two young adults, a teenager, and Mom and Dad, piled on a queen-size bed most nights for devotions and family prayer.


*Watching our daughter make an educational and career shift, responding to God’s call to ministry, and God’s immediate answer to serve at the camp she loves during this time of uncertainty and transition.


We are a pretty close knit family, and our lives can be messy, yet if this stay-home order hadn’t happened, we would have missed this unique and radical shift—the gift of drawing on the strength of family and doing life “together”, in every sense of the word!