So here you are, well into your collegiate career, about to enjoy a wonderful Spring Break with friends from college, exercising your independent responsibility into adulthood, living life in the most wonderful seasons of your existence and then it happens…campus shuts down. You are encouraged to evacuate your university. All of your classes are shifted to on-line and independent studies. You are no longer entrenched with the day-in day-out busyness of the joyful life on the campus, but instead find yourself sharing a room with your 8th grade brother because your parents turned your room into a home office, workout room, or a greenhouse!
So what do you do when you are forced to spend extended time of “social distancing” at home with your siblings? Great question!
As the baby of three boys, being the annoying little brother was a role I played incredibly well. My oldest brother graduated high school when I was in the 3rd grade, so the majority of my middle and high school years were during his college and medical school days. My other brother is only a year and a half older than me, so while he was starting college, I was right behind him trying to keep the widening gap from separating appropriately.
Here are some practical things you can do with your siblings during this time of interruption in ALL of our routines.
• Recognize that you have been looked up to, you are being looked up to, and you will continue to be looked up to by your younger siblings. Now is a perfect opportunity to model for them what a disciplined disciple of Christ is. Show them what it looks like to spend time daily, with the Lord, in the Word and prayer and then live it out in obedience.
• Don’t be afraid to have some heart to heart “spiritual journey” conversations with them. You might be the only trusted Christ-follower they will desire to confess sin to and seek accountability from. Don’t be afraid to probe a little deeper down that road.
• Help your parents by helping your siblings! Sure, you have your own amount of schoolwork to get done, but face it, you have your finger more on the pulse of their academics than your parents do. Spend some time with your siblings helping them figure out their online schooling.
• Take them out and create some sweet memories. Granted, most everything around you may be closing down, but you can still go to the park, hike some trails, throw some ball, toss the frisbee, etc. What is more, how can you and your siblings brainstorm some ways to practically minister to the needs around you?
• Finally, if no one else is, be the calm voice of reason realizing that we have only one option; that is to the trust the Lord. And that we only have one reality; that our eternity is secure!
So as you may find yourself in a familial situation that you thought was behind you forever, be encouraged! The Lord can use you. He wants to use you. He will use you! Be available!