Who is going stir crazy being cooped up in the house with your parents and siblings? I’m pretty sure if we were all in a room and I asked this question, everyone in the room would raise both hands very quickly.
For me, as an only child, being in the house with just my parents and no one my own age to relate to or do things with sometimes proves challenging. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have the upmost respect and profound love for my family.
But after a month of being quarantined together 24/7, it’s normal to feel like screaming at the top of your lungs out of frustration. If this is you, keep reading. If this is not you, you’re some kind of superhero, but keep reading anyway because it may happen to you eventually.
Here’s the deal. You’re stuck at home, you can’t see your friends, schoolwork (or lack thereof) looms over you, you’re grieving all of the things you’re missing, and worrying about how all of this could impact your future.
The thing is, your siblings are experiencing similar thoughts and worries, but they may not express those feelings in the same way you do. Your parents are also experiencing various worries magnified by one hundred. On top of their worries, they’re also worried about you.
Take a minute now to grasp this concept.
Empathy is when we can understand the emotions of other people. Stepping back and taking time to think about what someone else may be feeling takes effort. But in the long run, doing so will benefit you and how you respond to the other person. When one of your family members does something that frustrates you, understanding the feelings behind why they acted that way is the first step to being able to let it go.
In the Bible, we see time and time again how empathetic Jesus was. His empathy led to compassion for those who were sick, grieving, hungry, and so much more.
If you think about it, Jesus’ empathy is unfathomable. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (NIV).
Jesus came into this fallen world as a human being so He could understand us and empathize with us! We can take comfort in knowing Jesus has felt grief and pain too.
Jesus modeled for us empathy and compassion. Show empathy to your family. Remember to share something you’ve learned during this time about God with your family. And ask them what they are learning during this time. Take time to minister to them in spite of everyone’s short tempers, boredom, and tendency to go stir crazy.
Next time your sibling does something that annoys you, brush it off. If your mom snaps at you, give her a hug because she could probably use it. Put yourself in their shoes, and you’ll find that living together becomes a whole lot easier.
Kendall Christian is a senior communications major at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and is currently serving as an intern with the Student Resource Team at national WMU.