One thing that this Covid-19 pandemic has achieved is keeping us all at home. For some, this is a very difficult task and many would rather risk the infection than remain locked down in their homes.
However for those who have had so much pending things to do, its an opportunity to catch up and resolve the pending issues.
The truth nevertheless is that 14 or 21 days locked down is enormous for people who have no plan of vacation.
I pity the run-away daddies who often stay off because of the kids’ trouble. This is the part where everyone’s got to be real parents.
I suggest we come up with schedule for every member of the house as well as for ourselves. The following may help:
1. Devotion time should be extended now irrespective of your faith. At least we must spend time to pray against this siege. This should be done as a family, to improve family bonding and as well express joint responsibility. The whole human race is in this together. The virus is not colour or race sensitive.
2. Read. Everyone should read. I just finished my third book in four days. There are books that can be downloaded on-line. Mummy and Daddy please read. The world will not remain the same after Covid -19. Educate yourself to remain relevant. Read books: Management, Leadership, Motivational, Religious, Biographies, Autobiographies are all available online if you don’t have any.
3. Study. There is a difference between reading and study. Ensure your kids go through their school books and study. For those who have access to the internet, there are short courses you can take online.
4. Develop new skills or improve existing skills . You can improve your skills; be it cooking, sewing, IT, carpentry etc by continuous practice. Youtube practicals are available online. One of my friends in the US now sews in her basement. She took all her training online learning on youtube. It is also an opportunity to pursue that skill that you have always desired.
5. Watch TV. This is where caution is required. While it is good to watch TV, you must decide what to watch. News (careful of overloading yourself with negative stuff), Discovery channels, Geographical stations, documentary, Musicals (quality) Comedy (very good to ease tension) Religious stations (gives hope) etc. This must also be scheduled for the children and adults must be disciplined about it. There are times you just must shut down the TV to do other things. Don’t just allow your little kids to watch any kind of cartoon series. You will be shocked to know that we now have some dangerous cartoons that promote pornography and are abusive.
6. For church people like me. Include virtual church service in your scheduled and ensure you make your family sit with you to attend the on-line services. We did this last night. The best way to enjoy virtual services is to do it religiously as if you are in church. Dress properly, have your bible and jotter with a pen and listen with all your heart. It is not the time to answer phone calls or cook. Stand and participate where required. It is not time to eat.
6. Write. Yes! Pick your pen and do some writing. You may write short stories if you are inspired. Complete your research paper. Document your 2020 plan or draft one if you don’t have any. For great men, this is the time to come up with your 5 or 10 year plan or are we leaving that to the government too? That business plan that has been in your head for ages begin to prepare your feasibility studies on it. Develop your proposals on that business plan.
7. Develop your entrepreneurial skills. While we murmur and complain about this siege, I know a few people who are making lots of money using their business sense. Some are doing home delivery of food stuffs and water. I saw on a friend’s FB wall an advert on availability of sanitisers and i also saw request from people for supplies on the same page. do you know that those buckets of water placed in the market square are not for free? When you wash your hand, you pay N50.00. Therefore, folks its time to think. Maybe not immediately but after the lock down how can you improve your earnings by doing some extra things that will bring income.
8. Train/groom your children,wards and yourself. Most of the things we learnt in boarding school in our time are missing in the lives of our children today. So as parents this is an opportunity to groom your daughters to be ladies and your sons to be perfect gentle men. Teach them family values that the hustle and bustle of your job did not allow you to in the past. Teach them etiquettes (how to sit, use the cutlery, courtesy, dress, speak in public etc). Teach them values. When my kids were growing up, i made them take turns at public speaking. I would allow them pick a topic and then give a few minutes after our morning devotion for them to speak to it. It helped me measure their level of understanding and also helped build their self confidence.
9. Exercise. Engage in physical exercise. Walk, skip or practice yoga.
I could go on and on with ideas but I am sure we are beginning to think beyond these points. This is an unfortunate happening but it can also be used to our advantage if indeed we are wise.
So folks don’t blame anyone if nothing changed in your life or your family after this experience. You’ve got 14 or 21 days to re-invent yourself, re-write your story and change your life. It wont be the government’s fault nor your neighbour’s, nor God’s. It will be only yours if nothing change. Take responsibility and initiate the change you want to see in your life and in your homes.
Above all, one thing that must change for us all is our relationship with our maker. Who would have thought a year ago that a pandemic like this would shake the whole world? Who would have thought that a time would come when your bank accounts, visas and international passports cannot help you get out of the country for medical treatment?
Covid-19 is a leveler! It reveals the helplessness of man and our dependence on God. So let us be wise. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near, let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him: and to our God ,for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55 :6-7)
Adenike Babajamu (March 2020)