What Do We Tell Our Children?

Bombings.  Murder.  Hatred.  Heartache.  Misery.  Bloodbaths.  Injustice.  Deceit.

What Do We Tell Our Children?

We walk and live among evil; it is unavoidable.

When faced with grim realities, what do we tell our children?  What do we teach by way of example?  How do we share peace and love and understanding, so they may take it with them as they walk and live?

Define What You Believe:

My faith as a Christian is key to any peace, love or understanding that I may have or share. Without it, I’m sure I would sharpen my sword and declare war on all who wish us harm.

To fill the well of faith from which I draw, I spend time each day with God’s word, contemplating, listening and praying for direction and wisdom.  Time spent in devotion serves to remind me that this life is temporary, as are its evils, and my goal is to live God’s will for my life, not my own.

I don’t always succeed, but continue my efforts.

Understand What You Believe:

Understanding I will journey through this life on to the next, gives me great peace in moments of crisis.  While I may initially react with great emotion (gnashing of teeth or beating of breast are my go-to drama-filled reactions), it takes less time at this point in my life to remember that I am His and all is well, no matter the situation.

My faith that everything works for the good of God can be a hard-won state of being.  I know that it’s easier said than done; it’s easier imagined than practiced.  Life can cut us to the bone; our instinct is to slash back. It can be easier to let go of faith in those moments than to hang on to it.  But…

Have Faith In What You Believe:

My faith saves me.  Wait.  Jesus actually saved me, but my faith in that belief changes my perspective, it changes everything, which in turn can save me from myself when trouble punches me in the gut and I want to exact my revenge.

I’ve endured plenty of punches, while leaning, counting on, my faith. In these surreal days, as trouble has come swinging, I’ve spent more time at the well drawing out what peace I can, yet remain horrified and dismayed by the evil that lingers.

Prepare To Be Challenged:

To believe is an assertion made anew every day, every hour, and every minute. Some days it’s easy to wrap my arms around my faith and feel safe (smug even), other days I hold it at arms-length and question what the hell I was thinking. It’s the realism of being human.  Questions arise, some incredibly difficult to answer.  Yet, with each problem and subsequent resolution comes the opportunity to sharpen our belief.

My faith is the bedrock of who I am.  And while it is the basis for most of my decision-making, not every decision is faith-based, because I am forever flawed.

Where Does That Leave Us:

Life is full of moments that take us down from behind, that seem hopeless, that try to choke-out our faith and our joy.  Life is full of people telling us we are wrong.  We are stupid.  We are doomed.  Life is full of hatred and misery and injustice.  I have to decide in those moments: What do I say?  What do I teach?  How do I share?

Thankfully, life is also full of moments and people that surprise us with an outpouring of grace.  People who tell us we are worthy of love, as is.  We are beautiful.  We are gifted.  Life is full of peace and love and understanding if we seek to find it, if we listen for its voice, in the din of humanity.

It is my job to pry free from the dark chaos, to stagger back, to gain my footing and refocus perspective based on my faith and not on my human frailty, not on my vanity, not on my vengeance, not on my vast imperfections. It is my job, as a person of faith, to offer grace, to bind wounds, to forgive, to believe, to allow God’s love in the face of evil.

What Do We  Tell Our Children:

The truth.

We tell them that life is not fair, that evil lurks, that we’ll want to grab pitchforks and torches and rout out the demons from this world to keep each other safe.

We tell them that it’s normal to feel this way, that we feel this way.

And then, after we have raged against the injustice and heartache of incomprehensible acts, we tell them we must allow love.  If we do not, we are no better.

We say that love is not weakness and does not negate consequence.

We tell them that allowing love crushes the power of hatred.

We tell them how much we love them and that we’ll get through everything together.

The truth of love, that’s what we tell them.

It’s not the entire answer when faced with grim realities, but it’s a light-bearing start.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Wise words of encouragement for us all, including our grandkids. No matter how dark it looks, GOD IS IN CONTROL and how wonderful that we even know the “spoiler” for the “End of the story!” 🙂 True light in the midst of darkness.

  2. I agree What a wonderful post my daughter and I have been discussing what to say to the kids. The truth that evil is out there and we have to choose love and peace. Choose God. Thanks for joining us at the Let’ Get Social Sunday party. Have a wonderful day:)

    • Mrs. Tucker says:

      Children are more perceptive than they are given credit for in most situations. Truth is the best way to arm them, in my opinion.

  3. An excellent light-bearing start.

    I am so fully and completely in line with this. My faith saves me. I’m horrified by the evil out there. I’m forever flawed. And… I’m so very thankful for the peace and comfort that comes from faith. Not sure how those without it get through the day.

    Thank you!

  4. Beautifully stated. I cannot add anything to it.
    Is the haunting photo one that you took? Is it a monastery? It looks like such a place of peace and refuge from this insane world.

  5. Beautiful post. yes – faith is so necessary for me to keep moving forward with hope in this perilous world. It’s a beautiful world – but it’s perilous in ways that we cannot protect our families, our children, from the dangers and evil that lurk. I’m stopping in today from the Grand Social over at Lisa’s place. Glad to meet you.

  6. Thanks for this beautiful post. Speak the truth and love the hurting. And be the good.
    🙂
    kelly

  7. Great post. I am challenged by this myself. My older children ask questions and I try to be as honest as possible BUT it is very hard. I don’t want to scare them and I also don’t want to under prepare them. My oldest son is really grasping his faith and was upset that Jesus wasn’t nominated for a teen choice award on Nick! I am hoping that this means I am doing something right?!

    • Mrs. Tucker says:

      This made me smile. It IS hard, isn’t it. My philosophy has always been to tell the truth (as much of the truth that is age-appropriate). When kids hear us saying we are sad and confused and scared, I think it #1) humanizes us and #2) validates their feelings.

  8. Love how you stated all of this. Very beautiful and I share your views. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it with us all. Thanks for linking with me 🙂

  9. Beautifully said.

  10. Beautiful post! I often turn for my own comfort, as well as my child’s, to what Mister Rogers said after September 11, 2001: When something terrible happens, look for the helpers, the people who are doing their best to make it better. Know that if something scary happens to you, helpers will come. What Mister Rogers didn’t say publicly (but I know he believed) is that where people are willing to help even though it’s scary, that is God’s Love working through us.

    • Mrs. Tucker says:

      Thank you. Mr. Rogers was such a touchstone for so many children. Thanks for sharing his quote (and you and I agree on the message of God’s love working through others).

  11. As a child my mom never spoke to me about ‘life’ .. So as a mom, I am very honest with my girls and very open… Some things don’t need discussed but there are some issues that I drag them on into the living room and we just randomly discuss.

  12. I’ve have also said, to the older ones, if you are in a room with 30 other people and 1 guy with a gun/knife comes in threatening….pick up your chair a throw it at him! Encourage others to kill that mo fo! I’m sorry, but our children are taught to be sheep….30 people rushing one guy=a few dead or injured, but maybe less than would have been. For our littlest, we tell her to hide or play dead. Such awful things for a mommy to say to her babies.

    • Dear Annie…you know how I feel about this: yes. Find your moment and act. This post is more for the littles. To acknowledge the evil of this world, yet to also accept the hard truth that we are called to love. Hardest truth in times like this when all I want to do is tear off heads.

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