Parenting through Snow-days & School-cancellations

Unless you live in a location that frequently gets heavy snowfall, you won’t understand this statement: the level of my kids energy is directly porportionate with the depth of the newly fallen snow.

How does a Spirit-led, Christian parent react when the TV morning news declares, “School is canceled”?

Snow days and school cancellations are part of the inconveniences of life in wintry regions. What I don’t want to minimize is the real hardship that they cause parents. Arrangements must be made on a moment’s notice for someone to watch the kids, schedules radically change, groceries must be on hand to feed these “starving” individuals after a romp in the snow and, lets be honest, the extra shot of adrenaline they received because they don’t need to go to school causes them to be quite….rambunctious. So, mom or dad, how will you respond?

Some foundational truths:

  • Philippians 4: Rejoice, don’t be anxious, pray and be thankful.
    • Ok. I know I just lost half my readership. Think through these things though!
      • Rejoice – The school superintendent isn’t out to get you, the snow came from God! Rejoice in what the snow represents: purity. Do you remember that though your sins were like scarlet, God has cleansed you to be as white as the snow? Turn snow days into Gospel days by relating the purity that is offered by God to your children. Rejoice in the reminder!
      • No anxiety – God has brought this snow day and school cancellation to you – it was in his sovereign plan. Resting in that, understand that God will not place you in a situation that he has not prepared you for, will take you through or cause you to bear up under. 1 Corinthians 10:13. The details will work out – trust him.
      • Pray – Tell God about your anxiety and ask for wisdom. Pray throughout the day as the kids begin to “push your buttons”. Pray that you will respond graciously, as God would respond to you. Pray for the snowplows to come quickly!
      • Thanksgiving – As my kids get older, I realize that someday I will long for these days of unfettered access into their lives. Enjoy this time that God has given you – it truly is a blessing. Be thankful.

Examining the Idols of our Heart:

Why do we respond in frustration to the TV announcers news that there is no school…and only more snow to come? Why do we snap at our kids in their energized play? Why do we respond in unbiblical methods when stressful circumstances come? Why? Because we have idols in our hearts.  Here are some of the most common on days when school is canceled:

  • Idol of Comfort
    • Suddenly, by no decision of our own, we no longer might have the day to ourselves. We respond grumpily to these wonderful, biological reproductions of ourselves that God has blessed us with.
  • Idol of My Time
    • Where once I had planned my day (in fact, my only day off this week) to actually get something done, now I cannot do the things I once planned. My time is now devoted to the people in my home. I don’t have the option of continuing as if they weren’t here – and sometimes, that causes fights & quarrels. (James 4)
  • Idol of Convenience
    • I cannot emphasize how inconvenient snow days and school cancellations are. To many parents, especially those that work outside the home, these delays and cancellations cause tremendous stress. When we respond in anger to these untimely announcements, we only demonstrate that we are worshiping at the idol of convenience.
  • Idol of Financial Burden
    • Unplanned babysitters, daycare or childcare cause unplanned financial stress. What is going through your mind when you’re writing the check or handing over the cash to the daycare worker? Are you upset because this money was designated for some other item? Could it be that God is using this snow event to even demonstrate your selfish handling of finances?
  • Idol of Peace
    • There is little peace in the home of children who have joyously discovered that they don’t need to go to school today. As I have been writing this post, I have settled one argument over an Xbox 360 controller, listened to a wrestling match in the kitchen, negotiated some computer time for siblings and had a dog repeatedly lick my arm as I attempted to type. (even the dog acts like its been into my coffee). What peace we, as parents, have hoped for seems to be delayed and canceled along with the school day. How I react to this will demonstrate whether or not Peace is an idol of my heart.

What should we do on snow days and school cancellations?

  • Serve. Let your children see the joyful spirit of parenting in servant leadership. Maybe that will be:
    • creating a special breakfast, lunch or snack.
    • guiding your children in a craft
    • encouraging them in writing a card to grandparents (teaching them how to biblically encourage)
    • roll in the snow with them
    • (this requires planning ahead): serve them delicious hot cocoa…with marshmallows
    • teach them a skill: baking cookies or some other treat
    • read to them
    • play Monopoly
    • TIME – spend it with them
  • Enjoy. Children are the inheritance we have from the Lord the Psalmist says. We should rejoice with them and in the fact that God has blessed us with them. Do something together as a family and build some memories.
  • Rest. Allow these special moments sent by God to be a day of rest. Sure, the kids need to get some of that energy out, but allow them to have some down time too. Maybe it will be vegging in front of a movie or just taking a nap. Allow them to rest, snow days are grace from God.

Chance to Interact: What are your favorite snow day activities? What resources do you have for other parents in spending time with their children during a snow cancellation?

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