By Martha Strong
Perhaps you expected some good things in 2020. Instead, you have experienced canceled events, stay at home orders, closed businesses, travel restrictions, isolation and quarantine — the depressing list goes on and on. It can be hard to see the good.
As we forge ahead to 2021, our mindset is important. Do the past six months hold only negatives? Do we have a victim mindset because of expectations unmet? In the biblical account of Joseph (Genesis 37 -50), we meet someone we can relate to.
As a young adult, he was separated from his family, isolated and lived through shortages before toilet paper and hand sanitizer were invented. But he continued to make positive choices and when his family expected him to seek revenge for the bad that had happened to him, he responded, “You meant to hurt me. But God turned your evil into good,” Genesis 50:20.
Like Joseph, we can form a positive healthy mindset. Parents and leaders can use these four ideas to help their family or friends cope with the negative and find the good.
- In a group, recall what’s happened and make a pros and cons list. Having multiple voices in the discussion can help us find balance in what has happened. Some will see the glass half full and others half empty.
- Review events of past generations. We aren’t the only ones who have experienced negatives like war, disease and violence. This reminder helps us connect to other generations and find hope in their perseverance. Read accounts in the Bible of the faithful like Ruth and David who overcame adversity and found strength.
- Look for the silver lining in today’s pandemic. What did you learn? What did you accomplish that you would not have if not for COVID-19? Looking for a silver lining may seem corny but it is a healthy mental habit to build resiliency in life.
- Create a storyboard of what you will tell your children about the experiences of 2020. Building a visual image will give you a mental anchor when you are tempted to emotionally drift to a negative mindset.
Use these ideas to build a healthy outlook for 2021.
(Editor’s note: Strong is the Religious Education director at Fort Leonard Wood.)