Explaining ‘The Great Mask Debate’ to an Eight Year Old

My family of five stopped by the grocery store on the way to the beach to grab a few last minute items. This was in a mask enforced county so we all proceeded to wear our masks – except my two year old son.

As our family entered the store, I realized this was our first time to (all five) be in public with masks; and to be surrounded by others doing the same. How sad and awkward it is that we can’t silently smile at strangers to show kindness or acknowledgement. I felt so stupid as I kept catching myself doing it over and over again. 

two kids standing outside, one young blonde girl and one redheaded toddler boy and the girl is hugging the boy from behind and they're both smiling at the camera
2 yr old Cohen & 8 yr old Cara

My two year old son quickly realized something was very different and (being the odd man out) had a huge fit in the middle of the store since he was the only one without a mask. Thank goodness I found a spare, which he wore lopsided (and barely covering his nose) since it was not a child-size mask.

Before long we were heading out. But as we got back into the car after experiencing (for the first time) this possible “new normal,” it was my eight year old inquisitive daughter, Cara, that started hitting us with all the questions. 

“Why do we have to wear these, again? Cohen can’t even keep his on! Does it matter what kind we wear? Do I have to wear it the whole time or just when I’m going to be ‘within six feet’ of someone?” And, the one that really got me… “If we’re ‘not given the spirit of fear,’ why is everyone acting so afraid of COVID?”

This reminded me that Cara’s really listening and waiting for me to back up our choices with biblical principles…yikes! Let me be careful what I say next…

…deep breath, “Well…first, we’re ‘obeying the laws of the land’ (Romans 13:1-2) since the county has mandated the masks.

Second, we’re ‘loving our neighbor as ourselves’ (Matthew 22:39) by covering our breathing in hopes to keep our (possible) harmful germs from hurting others. 

Third, I don’t know if these are the ‘right masks’ to prevent us from getting sick, but any mouth/nose covering will help to keep our breath from harming others. And we’re ‘not looking to our own interests, but … to the interests of the others.’ (Philippians 2:4)

And no, we’re not afraid of COVID, but we will ‘not forsake wisdom’ when making our choices. (Proverbs 4:6-7) And if this could cut down our chances of getting sick, we’ll do our best to be prudent.

And lastly, I hope this mask wearing stuff ‘is a season,’ not a new lifestyle.”

And with that, Cara was fairly satisfied. Not excited about the uncomfortable adjustments our family was making, but understanding of the purpose of our choices and changes.

So whether you and your family are adjusting great, or are greatly adjusting – to the mask wearing situation, remember… 

“For everything there is a season…a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9
family photo (taken outside) of 5 family members. a blonde & brown curly haired mom, a bald dad with a beard, a brunette teenage girl, a blonde young girl and a redheaded toddler boy.
The Morris Family