Spiritually Speaking

QUESTIION: Ever since he was 3 years old, we’ve been telling our son that when he is 5 he’ll go to school, learn new things and make new friends. For two years, he’s been excited about being a “big boy” and going to school. Now, with the pandemic, at our school all classes are online and began a few weeks ago. We helped him get online but every school session ends with him being in tears because he can’t be in a classroom. Even though we tell him this isn’t going to last forever, he then comes up with questions we can’t answer like when will it end.

Please help us help our son to hang in until there are changes that will allow his school to open.

~ Faltering Parents



Dear Faltering Parents,

The COVID-19 pandemic has given all of us an opportunity to take a second look at many of the everyday occurrences we may have taken for granted in our lives. We now have the opportunity, like never before, to appreciate what were generally accepted activities of our lives – going to church, work, restaurants, hair and nail salons, sports games and much more. For students of every age, school has taken on a very new and surreal experience because most teaching is conducted via the computer with Zoom classes and no physical contact with people. The distance learning, as well as all of the distancing protocols we have been asked to practice, produce a sense of isolation and aloneness that affects adults and children alike.

We are social by nature. It feeds the soul to physically be with others and share in communication and friendship. Students may learn academically when being taught via Zoom classes but their emotional nourishment is left by the wayside. So how can you best get to the heart of the matter of helping your son cope?

For me, prayer always comes first. Pray for guidance and direction, trusting that the answer will show up. When we trust in the power of God and surrender to that power, we may not have a clue of how things will work out, but they always do and most times better than we could have imagined. Once you’ve gotten a clear sense of being guided in Spirit you will understand that you do not have to figure it all out on your own. Remember the Bible verse, “I of myself do nothing. It is the Father (God) in me that does the work.” The Universal Mind has a way of showing up at just the right moment. We have all encountered it – the ideal book appears to give us insight, the right person shows up to offer us help, an accidental meeting with a stranger leads to a new job, etc. What is essential is that we keep ourselves available to the solution. Inspiration by means of your own inner knowing and intuition, which is the voice of God, will produce new ideas and solutions. From there you can take action.    

Communication with your son is the key. Chances are he’s longing for the interaction and companionship of friends. Even though you have a good idea of what he’s missing ask him to put it into words. Let him know that you’ve heard him and you’re thinking of new solutions and taking action to help him feel more connected to other students until school comes back in session. Kids are smart! Ask him for suggestions of what he thinks the solution looks like. Ask him to make up a story of the best case scenario of how his school year turns out. Talk with his teacher and reach out to other parents of his classmates to ask if any would be willing to share the responsibility of a one day a week visit to study-play together.

The circumstances that we are encountering are temporary. Anchor yourself in that wonderful statement, “Let go and let God.” You may not be able to do anything about the uncertainty of the classroom’s return; however, you can still be a loving and supportive parent that shows your child how to trust, be resourceful and see beyond limitations. Those are the life lessons that forge true character and they are invaluable!

In Light,

Rev. Mary Morgan




Dear Faltering Parents,

First of all, your concern and care for your son and the support you are showing in this time of upheaval of everything that we knew as “normal” makes me think that you are much more fabulous parents than faltering. It is always the hope of parents that they can make those milestone moments, like the first day of kindergarten, as something that can be looked back on with joy and pride. But of course we never know what the days will bring into our lives; we only know how we can find the strength to make the best of what we have been given. One of the ways that you can support your son is to try and give him a “schoolroom” space that he can make his own. Maybe even ask him some things that he would like included. And don’t forget the fun stickers! By having the pride of creating his own schoolroom he will feel that he has a bit more control over his school day.
You could also help him to see that he is part of something that has never happened before. By being part of the first kindergarten classes that are online, he is blazing a trail into the future. He is helping the school become better at what it does in this new way and may even be able to share his thoughts about what is working for him and what isn’t.

Help him to explore how he feels about this new experiment and what he might suggest as ways to improve what the school is doing.

The last piece I can recommend is just to be there with him. Continue to do those things that help the rest of his day feel a little more normal. If you had a certain activity that he enjoyed, help him to continue it as far as it is possible in the midst of a pandemic. Maybe even let him see that you as parents are also struggling with how to be “normal” in these days. Our children grow so much when they know that even as we grow older we have difficulties in which we need to work together to overcome. By showing our own vulnerability, we let our children know that it is okay to not be okay all the time.

As a pastor, I always remind people of when Jesus cried at the death of his friend Lazarus in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, even though He knew that He would shortly raise Lazarus from the grave. We are always impacted by those things that throw us out of our regular routines and the expectations of how things should be, but we can use those situations to connect more deeply with one another and draw strength from shared experience.

Finding strength together,

Pastor Scott Peterson





QUESTION: What’s to be done with all of the angry protests and rioting that have been happening for the past few months? We’re a patriotic family and seeing the American flag being burned is very upsetting to us. We understand the Second Amendment and freedom of speech; however, we believe many individuals have carried this way too far and there are no repercussions. We’re the parents of a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old who are asking if there are good reasons for this behavior. Between telling them about freedom of speech and racism that has gone rampant and must stop, we don’t know what else we can tell them.

Please help us explain to them about learning their responsibilities as American citizens.

~ Proud Americans



Dear Proud Americans,

These are extraordinary times for parents. I think you are wise to consider the effects of current events on your young children. I think news outlets supported by advertising sensationalize incidents to get more readership. When a front-page story plays up something that turns out to be erroneous information, the correction will be days later on a back page. Social media amplifies and echoes fear and conspiracy

A first step might be to limit exposure to these anxiety-producing sources.
Protests and rioting are very different things but the same solutions can help both. Correcting the systemic racism, classism and misogyny upon which this nation was based will eliminate the need to protest those
ills. The Euro American male property owners known as our Founding Fathers were willing to define an enslaved person as only worth 3/5 of one of themselves. They didn’t acknowledge women’s rights at all. The 13th Amendment left a loophole allowing Jim Crow laws and mass incarceration to replace enslavement in support of White supremacy.

Rectifying these flaws will lead to a more just and stable society. I don’t believe violence and property damage are effective protest tools but burning the U.S. flag has been well established as an example of constitutionally protected free speech. Perhaps if you imagine yourself a descendant of enslaved people still enduring the effects of 400-plus years of oppression you will understand the frustration that could lead to destruction of a symbol.

I think it is most patriotic to help our nation live up to its promise that all humans are created equal.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program has age-appropriate materials that can help you discuss these issues with your children. Unfortunately, with the pandemic and distance learning, children and parents have less direct access to professional educators.

I wish you the best.

Sharon Weisman is a founding member of the CVCA. She can be reached at sharon@jetcafe.org.

Sharon Weisman





Dear Proud Americans,

There’s no question that our children today are experiencing a lot of things that we would like to shield them from: civil unrest, violence, injustice, racism and political division not to mention the medical pandemic taking lives by the tens of thousands in our country and around the world. The problem with all of these things is they aren’t going to magically disappear anytime soon. These are issues our children will also have to address as they grow up in our communities and try to make the world a better place. Certainly you want to protect your young children, but we also need to answer their questions while teaching them about loving others and respecting the dignity of all people. Kim Morgan, a Catholic wife, mom and licensed independent clinical social worker, says, “One of the things we need to do is make sure we are telling them the truth, but make sure that truth is only as much as they need to know. Maybe they ask a question, you answer it, and they move on and go do something else – then that was enough. If they continue the dialogue and ask more questions or want to know what you think about it, then your child is more ready to learn about some of this and hear some of it,” explained Morgan. “But they don’t really need to see the graphic images on the TV, on the computer screen … it’s really not helpful for small children because they don’t have the emotional bandwidth … to be able to process a lot of that.”

Our faith teaches that every single person is made in the image of God. They have dignity and deserve respect and love, regardless of the color of their skin or nationality. Jesus taught His followers, “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) We can teach our kids and model for them how to follow this commandment. Unfortunately, our conversations have to include the fact that not everyone in the world loves and respects other people. We are, however, responsible for our own behavior not the actions of others. We live in a racially diverse community and must take the time to explain to our children how we are to love and accept everyone, even those who are different from us.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah said, “… the LORD has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love and to live in humble fellowship with our God.” (Micah 6:8) (GNT) I think it would help your children understand how to live out this verse if you can find ways to let Christ work through you by taking action to make our community and world a better and more peaceful place. As you set an example for your kids and involve them, if possible, it will create opportunities for further discussion and prayer for those who are struggling around us. And as we do these things, we will raise up young people who will love God and the next generation and stand up for justice and peace.

Blessings to you on your parenting journey!

Pastor Randy Foster