How can these things be happening in our country, in schools (public places) just like the ones our kids attend? Many questions are surfacing as people are trying to make sense out of something that makes no sense. Understanding that your child or children you know may have heard about the tragedy that occurred in Boston, we would like to offer you some assistance in talking to them about the situation.
The younger your child is the less you will want to say about it. If your child is of school age then these points can direct you on how and what to address with them on an age appropriate level,
Take the action necessary to limit the exposure of your children to the news reports and general conversations about the situation. Children easily pick up drastic reactions, comments, and emotions of people they look up to. Be cautious with what you say in front of them or what they may overhear. The Word of God teaches us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. People can have negative faith which is known as fear. The more your child hears about the situation the more the door is open for fear to take up residence in their heart. Do your best to close that door of fear and keep the door of faith wide open.
If your child wants to tell you what they heard about the bombing in Boston, let them put it into words. As they express what is bouncing around in their heads, it’s a good step in bringing some order to their thoughts. This will also make you aware of any misinterpretations or false information they may be thinking and gives you the advantage to nip the misconceptions at the root.
Listen first, so you have a reading on what your child is feeling. Then, turn to prayer. This is the perfect time to teach kids that we start out praying. Prayer is not our last resort. Pray for the families and the other kids affected by tragedy.
4. Allow them to express emotions.
It is ok for them to be sad, or mad, or angry (but not for an extended period of time). If squelched now, those feelings will find a way to come out eventually. Acknowledge that this incident makes us feel a lot of different ways. God is not afraid of our emotions-He made them for our benefit-and they have their time and place.
5. Be truthful. Don’t pretend to have all the answers.
You don’t have to have all the answers. Be authentic with your kids and admit that you’re working through this along with them. Tell them how your heart was crushed and your eyes welled with tears when you heard what had happened to these children.
6. Keep your answers short.
As your child asks a question, keep your answers very short. They cannot process very detailed answers and you don’t want to confuse them.
7. Watch for children who display extreme anxiety over this incident.
This could be in the form of bed wetting, trouble sleeping, not having an appetite, etc. These are indicators that there is something still troubling them. If you notice signs then address it right away.
8. Remind them that this was NOT from God.
Help kids understand that there is evil in the world, and it was that evil that brought this about. John 10:10, says the thief is the one that comes to steal, kill and destroy. This was NOT God’s doing.
9. Assure them that you will do everything in your power to keep them safe.
Assure your child as much as needed that all the safety measures that you have in place are because you love them and want them to be safe. Remind them that Gods’ angels are all around to keep them protected. If they ask you the tough question of why didn’t Gods’ angels protect those kids refer back to points 5, 6 and 8 for help. The bottom line is God is not responsible for this and His love still prevails!
We are praying for you and your families that the Wisdom of God is available to you in abundance should you need to have discussion with your child regarding this tragedy or any tragedy. Rest assured, the Peace that passes all understanding will be your guide as you minister to your child.
Pastor David Blouin