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COVID-19 How to live in uncertain times (7 - Supporting our Young People)

Nigel Gillson, 21st March 2020

A teacher assisting students

See part 1 of this series here.

For the first time in decades, the majority of schools are closing for the majority of young people. For how long, no one seems to know. Our young people and those who work closely with them need our prayers, particularly, with the recent news of school closures and exam cancellations.



OUR YOUNG PEOPLE

Year 11 and year-13 students will not sit exams. This has massive implications for their futures, the most important thing on their minds at the moment. Things are still a little unclear how they will receive their qualifications, but suffice to say, they are feeling despondent and the stress of all the hard work they have been doing is piling into their minds. The other young people in other year groups are having to work from home. It’s like their lives have been thrown upwards and landed in disarray. Their sense of normality has gone. Most will be stuck in the four walls they call home for as long as necessary.

We need to pray specifically for their mental health and their well-being. We need to pray they will feel a sense of security in their future, no matter what happens next.

PARENTS

Parents who are not considered key workers are being asked to stay at home with their children and teach them or ensure they continue their education. They will be faced with stressful times. They will experience children who need to burn lots of energy. They will have to struggle against students who wish not to learn at home. They will, themselves, feel the pinch, perhaps financially due to not working. Their household bills will start to mount up. They, too, will feel cooped up especially if they usually rely on their elderly parents for child care.

We need to pray they will remain calm throughout these trying times, for their mental health and a sense of strength to handle the problems they are likely to face at home. We need to pray they will find new ways of doing things, new regimes and practices.

TEACHERS

Teachers who are able to are being asked to remain in school to provide child care facilities for key workers. Many of these teachers will have a family themselves.

They will be working with students they do not know, from other schools which brings its own challenges. They won’t be teaching their normal subjects, if, indeed, they actually teach. They are likely to start feeling confused, worried about the future and stressed. They worry about their students, having to set work for them, worrying about what kind of work would be accessible at home and knowing this could very well be the last time they see them this academic year.

We need to pray and thank God for their dedication to their students, to ensure, even now, they receive some sort of education. We also need to pray they remain healthy to continue to support the key workers in their jobs. We should pray that God will give them the strength to work with young people they are unfamiliar with and keep their families safe whilst they keep other families safe.

GOD IS IN CONTROL

I received a message from a student of mine the other day, one who knows I have had to self-isolate. She encouraged me by saying, “I hope you and your family are keeping well. I will remember you all in my prayers!” My heart ached with thankfulness to God who has spoken through that young person and who is clearly in control.

2 Corinthians 9:14-15 encourages us that when we pray for others, our hearts go out to them because of the surpassing grace God has given them. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

As Christians, we can support these young people, their parents, and their teachers by uplifting them in prayer. In addition, if we know anyone who falls into these groups, we can send text messages, notes through the door, or contact them by phone and provide a much important additional voice in the current climate of turmoil.


See part 8 of this series here.

During these strange and testing times, we hope to post encouragement for you here each day. As ever, if you would like to speak with a Minister, please get in touch through our contact us page.