Having just retired from the Army within days of the COVID-19 quarantine (yes, God’s timing is perfect!), I’m still somewhat in the military mindset. In the Army, we typically document significant operations with an After Action Review (AAR). Oftentimes, an AAR is abbreviated with “three ups and three downs.” Looking back after nearly eight weeks of quarantine, I thought I’d share a few of our family’s AAR comments:
1.) Unhurried family time. Everyone eats together every night with no rushing to get to activities. Our evenings now often include walks around the neighborhood, board games, or just sitting around the firepit. When we look back on the Quarantine of 2020, I’m confident we’ll remember the slower pace of life and increased family time with fond memories and thankful hearts.
2.) Learning is fun! It has been a great joy to learn alongside my kids. It’s a thrill to see their eyes sparkle when they understand a concept for the first time. It’s also been fun to see my kids’ “school personalities” and
eavesdrop overhear their conversations in class Zoom sessions. (Other parents do this too, right?)
3.) Family devotions. This often-allusive goal has been difficult for us to achieve and maintain. With less competing demands, we’ve been able to prioritize this time. Though sometimes awkward and never without a handful of distractions, our devotion time frequently leads to deeper follow-up conversations later in the day.
1.) IT support. We were not prepared, tech-wise, for online schooling. There were not enough laptops or tablets to go around, the printer was out of ink, and our internet is sometimes spotty. Adding to these frustrations was the fact that our kids had never really used a computer before. Nevertheless, four kids sharing devices has been an opportunity to accommodate others, as well as a chance to learn how to prioritize tasks and manage time.
2.) Burn out. We are all approaching electronic burn out. Even my young children get tired of screen time, yet most resources from school and our church require computer/internet access. As a result, my kids have become even more interested in imaginary play. Schooling now frequently occurs in superhero costumes (over PJs, of course) so that they are ready to dash out to play at recess.
3.) The human touch. We really miss our friends and our in-town grandparents. After two months of waving through the car windows or saying hi from the front porch, my parents came over last week wearing clear plastic tarps so they could pick up the kids and hug them. For years to come, we will all have a greater appreciation of the gift of giving and receiving physical affection.
These AAR comments have been helpful to us as we reassess what getting back to “normal” will look like once quarantine restrictions begin to lift. What are your family’s quarantine AAR reflections? What new habits or practices might your family add back in or, conversely, leave out, as quarantine lifts? Praying for all our families of faith as we Charlie Mike (Army for “continue the mission”) on our Great Commission.