This week, our family was reading our nightly advent story. This particular night we focused on how Jesus was born to conquer death ( 1 Cor. 15:55-57). We discussed how every living thing must die because of sin and how Jesus conquered death through His resurrection. Midway through our conversation I had one of those parent moments. “How will my kids handle death and tragedy?” Undoubtedly they will be faced with these unfortunate circumstance of living in a fallen world. How am I preparing them to not fear these moments but to trust in the sovereignty of God? These are very difficult conversations that every parent will face. I think there are some things that we can do as parents to prepare our kids to handle tragedy in a way that honors God when it strikes. Here are a few of mine…
BE HONEST: : Kids can handle the truth and they can tell when we are making things up. Last year I had the honor of officiating my grandfathers funeral. He was one of the most incredible men that I have ever known. As I was preparing for the funeral, my oldest son (4) asked “what are you doing”. This moment gave me the opportunity to have an honest conversation with him about sin, death and God’s love for all people. Be honest. They will respect you more in the long run.
ON THEIR LEVEL: Have honest conversations that they can understand and relate with. As parents, we must protect our kids from certain relates of this fallen world until they are matured enough to handle them. Use wisdom and trust in the Holy Spirit to guide your conversations.
BIG TRUTHS IN SMALL AMOUNTS: Fight the temptation to explain everything when tragedy strikes. Focus on helping them understand big truths in small amounts over time…
LEVERAGE: I always TRY to leverage sensitive conversations with my kids for the glory of God. Use the immediate situation to leverage a greater conversation about the Gospel and God’s love. Help them to see the bigger picture in the midst of hurt and tragedy. The picture that we paint for them today will hopefully be the world they live in tomorrow.
MODEL THE MESSAGE: Kids watch more than they listen. How you respond to tragedy will shape how they respond to tragedy. Your trust in God during difficult times can be the greatest classroom for your kids to experience a sovereign God.
PRAY: Sounds simple – but always pray over the situations that you are facing. Prayer over time teaches (us and them) that we are not in control. Prayer helps our kids to know that they have a loving God that is ready to receive their request.