Here Is my journey of the last 5 weeks, I hope you read it and find some encouragement in it.
So today marks the end of level 5 lockdown and tomorrow we move into level 4, which really seems like level 4.95 as there is little difference to level 5. Wow so many levels.
Lockdown was not the 5 week quiet, stay home bond with the kids and bake banana bread type of ideal I had in mind when it was announced. I mean we all thought we were in for a 3 week semi holiday stint! Ha! Its been more like a 5 week road trip through the Karoo (desert) with no AC and that Nickleback CD you bought when you were 15, stuck on repeat with two small kids who don’t get the concept of time. Oh and back again! Yes it does seem as though my wife and I were pushed down a mine shaft with weights on our feet!
You must now think we have had the worst experience of our lives, we have not but the above description is accurate. While it has been amazing to bond with our kids and as a whole family in the safety of our home, to cook different foods and not have to be stuck in traffic or waste time driving. It hasn’t been easy. Im seeing more and more people start to vent on social media platforms and hear them tell me how they want to throw their kids off the balcony (my words not theirs) *no kids were harmed in the writing of this.
I want to tell you my journey through the last 5 weeks as a father, husband, leader and business owner and if you stick with me to the end, ill applaud you as I’ve never written anything like this before!
The first 2 weeks were ok, I think we were still trying to get to grips with the gravity of the situation and how we have to change our approach to life, and when I say life I mean the entire way we live, work and socialise. To be honest I don’t think we even thought too much about how to change or what to change to, we’ve kinda just allowed our decisions to be firm but very movable. This has made us sure in the moment but flexible for the future. The kids loved those 2 weeks as both Rebeca and I were there and at their beck and whim!
The 3rd week was when I started to have the sinking feeling of the future job losses and the looming 14 days of extra lockdown. I think I was driving home from the shops or from our coffee roastery. We have two coffee businesses and one of them has been allowed to trade and send goods via couriers but someone has to make them beans taste good! So back to that drive home, that sinking feeling when you think there is nothing you can do to help those that we now see on the roadside asking for hand outs or those that in a month or two who will not have jobs or so deep in debt. It stuck with me for days until I realised and maybe it was a God thought that I can do something about it, I can be part of the solution? I can be the solution for the one, the proverbial “one” the ones already in my employment, the ones who have become family over the last 6 years, I can have deep impact on them and their families. Now this all sounds high and mighty, its really not, its no fun having to go to bed at night only to lie awake trying to figure out more ways of getting money in so you can pay people, all the while your doors are shut to business. Oh boy does that keep yo up at night. I mean its that and the screaming 2 year old wanting another bottle!
Yes yes, I know, you’re sitting there say/thinking to yourself, this guy choose to start a business, he choose to have children and I’ll stand by that, we made those decisions! We made them with the best intention and maybe a lot of ignorance but that’s bliss right? And bliss it has not been. Business is not for sissies but there are some great rewards and in these times, times of economic woe and bad news with people just saying the worst case scenario, the great reward is found in people not money, safety or comfort but people. When social distancing is the theme of the day we can so quickly loose feeling for others, I’ve seen it, two ladies in checkers going for it because one lady couldn’t find her purse in her bag while at the till. Hell, I’ve been there! I can’t find a flippen thing in a woman’s bag! How is she to do it with an impatient women shouting at her. My point is that whatever you do do it for people and you’ll find reward.
We were able to pay all our staff almost their whole salaries! The messages were overwhelming. There were tears of joy and things like “now we can eat for the next month” and in this season of total uncertainty we have to be in it for each other not profit.
So for 3 weeks of lockdown I’ve been teacher dad in the morning, coffee dude in the afternoon and admin department in the evening. My wife has has only got busier over lockdown, running a creative online solutions company (they do so much for their clients that that’s the best way I can describe them) so she has got her work done in the morning then sung songs with our kids int he afternoons, she even tried baking! That didn’t go so well! The cookies were tasty but the emotional fall out was loud! No man! She wasn’t screaming at our kids but when you get two small kids hyped up about cookings and hooked on sugar, you’re in for a ride! Our kids have pushed us to limits we’ve not known before, 5 weeks with them busy around your ankles asking questions every 3.5 seconds all while trying to close that all important sale stretches your patience and your moral code for not committing murder. I love my kids, deeply and have grown to love them more over this time but right at the start of lockdown I asked God for an extra dose of patience but I did add a disclaimer, I know, never do that with GOD, anyway I said to Him please don’t give me opportunities to learn patience, just give it to me like a pain pill!? Im not sure if he has or not but I’m still here and I still smile at them when the barge into our room before uncle Cyril’s curfew of 05:00am and when they won’t eat the very meal they choose to eat just because I gave them a fork instead of a spoon. I mean have you ever tried to eat spaghetti with a spoon? Needles to say that took hours!
So when I see people spouting that they are bored or watching another movie or have something to say about tiger king (what is that even) I roll my eyes and think to myself, lucky bugger! No I’m kidding, well partially.
I know of many many more that are in a similar boat to us, they are full time parents, teachers and employees. To you I’ll raise my weary hand and wave to you as we paddle into an unknown of a post Covid adventure.
I guess the reason for writing this is to say to all those who have “worked” 18 hour days, become teachers over night and tech junkies out of necessity, keep going, you’ve got this! And paw patrol will hold the creatures for at least an hour! Haha, TV is the devil you heard growing up and now it may just save your next zoom meeting? In my pondering of what life will look like after all these levels of lockdown is this, we will enjoy our home space more, be much more attentive to our kids, our spouse and just how good home cooking is, there certainly is no need for all that driving we used to do and you know what, you might just be a more all round better person because you had to teach your own kids the same letter and the same number 5 days in a row! Now you know what God feels like when He is trying to get through to you!
To you who own businesses and employ people, I know about the bottom line, I have one to, but this is a time to invest in people, this is a time to stand on the side of the poor, its time to do everything you can and that little bit more that is in you to make sure your staff are looked after, be upfront, honest and put your whole heart in it! If you believe in God put your faith where your heart, mind and mouth is and watch Him come through for you and your staff.
Moms and dads doing the shift thing, teach and work shifts, you’ve got this! It’s not about the curriculum but about you being there, being with them in this moment that they may or may not understand. If you want I can put you in touch with teachers who have given me handles on how to be/teach your kids? Just pop me an email.
To those of you who have slogged it out alone in a space without kids and family, man I cannot understand what you have gone through and if you ever need some chaos or just some chaos on a screen, let's set up a zoom call at dinner time in our house. What a treat it will be and we’d love to have you!
To us as people, each with a soul and purpose, each made by the hands of God in His image, to you I say well done for making it this far, well done for seeing it through, but I have to say this, if you have the means, the energy, the education, the whatever you might find in your hands, Now is the time to put it to work as the work starts now. This is when the rubber hits the road, we have a job to do and that’s to rebuild the people who have fallen, it’s time to rebuild the nation and the economy, restore jobs and dignity. Let’s do this for people no profit.
Thank you for reading, sorry for the rants but ALL the memes are 100% correct about parenting in lockdown! Business will go on and we have to adapt quick and learn something new every day.
Be blessed and reach out if you want to chat more about some of the things I’ve spoke about, let’s see where we can work together to build people on this, the great Covid adventure.