The Littlest Co-Workers
Millions of people got a promotion this month: the opportunity to work at home…with their kids.
Comedy aside — in the face of a pandemic, many are counting their blessings as they have the chance to work in the safety of their own home. And yet, at the same time, parents are overwhelmed by the demand to manage kids while remaining productive and engaging in that unnecessarily long video conference call (which still could have been an email!)
As always, professionals who also know Jesus as their Rescuer and King have an additional mission: communicating God’s truth and ways, the Gospel and the sanctified life, through their work. But now, that mission expands its targeted audience to include their offspring. Working from home, with kids, is a laboratory for demonstrating the grace-fueled ways of God to our children within our professional callings.
This reality immediately brings to my mind a culture-shaping passage of Scripture where Moses addresses a newly independent nation:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. –Deuteronomy 6:5
Moses, within God’s empowerment, calls on a nation to teach God’s ways to their children in formal and informal ways. Teaching happened in any and every moment, even “when you sit in your house” (you know, that place we’ve been forbidden to leave for the next…how many days now?).
Believing parents, gifted with the opportunity to work from home, are suddenly more exposed to their children than ever before. In a manner that parallels the challenge Moses gave to a nation, this unanticipated time with our kids can be redeemed, capitalized upon. The way we do our work from home can teach the ways of God to our kids.
The way we do our work from home can teach the ways of God to our kids.
There are innumerable opportunities to teach the ways of God through our work. The sky is the limit, but let’s get the ball rolling:
- When you’ve asked for focused time, but they keep asking for that next snack, you have a chance to say, “Because I love God, I work hard. I do my best to stay focused, be diligent with my time, and be productive since I’m doing this as if for God’s reputation.” (Colossians 3:23)
- When they overhear you tell your manager the reason you didn’t pick up the phone earlier, you’re demonstrating, “Because I love God, I’m honest. I use truth when it helps me, as well as when it reflects poorly on my actions.” (Colossians 3:9)
- When they interrupt your focus with a quarrel or provide a raucous soundtrack to your sales pitch, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to show, “Because I love God, and have experienced the joy of His Gospel, I show patience and grace, even if it may not have been deserved. I am constantly aware of the way I don’t deserve God’s unmerited favor.” (Ephesians 4:1b-2)
- When co-workers express words, tones, and ideas threatening to fill your family’s minds with hopelessness and fear, you have an incredible moment to reinforce, “Because I love and know God through His gospel, I can live in hope.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Don’t get me wrong, working from home is a challenge. But how we work is an opportunity to teach the ways of God to our children like we may have otherwise missed. And they are watching, listening, mimicking, and learning more than we realize.
They are watching, listening, mimicking, and learning more than we realize.
Just this month, my 4-year-old bundle of emotion, opinion, and, yes, joy, plopped down beside me as I was cranking out calls and words-per-minute with gusto. I vaguely noticed the flutter of sounds and colorful explosion of paper that meant she was engaging in arts and crafts with equal fervor. I was thrilled, assuming this meant she wasn’t noticing me and wouldn’t need my attention. Before I knew it, she was crawling up onto my lap, trying to show me the product she had newly stamped off the Pre-K assembly line.
With the kind of beaming pride that betrayed the depth of her desire to be just like her parents, she displayed a self-fabricated ID tag, complete with a retractable clip she’d procured from a long-forgotten toy bin.
She compared it to the ID tag I was wearing out of thoughtless habit and her intention was clear: she, too, was ready for work. Her hand-written name across the top completed the narrative I should have instinctually realized, this image-bearing wonder was being forged and formed by watching me work. Even deeper than an ID badge, she may one day wear faith, identity, habits, ethics, and reactions with their origin in an unforeseen and unprecedented season of watching her parents working at home.
Let’s leverage this season to teach, formally and informally, the grace and joy of the gospel and the wisdom and peace of God’s ways. What if our children’s generation was able discover the wonder of God’s merciful love more deeply than the previous 10 generations combined? And simply because, during a nationwide quarantine, we chose to teach of His grace while we worked in our houses, while we walked down our streets, while we tucked them into bed, and while we stayed home from our morning commutes?