Friends and Family,
I can imagine with this morning’s news on top of yesterday you are anxious and at unease. For many of you, you not only have the memories and emotions from the past when you were younger, but you have to counsel and encourage your children and family members.
Questions that might be going through your mind....
*What do I say? *What will my kids hear at school? *How do I feel? *What does this mean for the future?
*Why is there evil in this world?
These are all needed questions. While talking to a few fellow ministers this morning I received some solid advice I’d like to share with you. These aren’t the only answers but it I hope it helps.
1) Oxygen mask: Take a moment and go into the other room or a different room if you can and figure out what you are feeling. Call someone to talk through it. Figure out what you are feeling first and come to your family with some clarity. Spend some time praying.
2) When you are ready talk to your kids consider your audience: Each age group and dynamic of who you talk to is important.
When talking to younger kids keep it very short and light. i.e. “The school is awesome they just had some concerns about safety and it’s so smart to be safe. I’m so grateful for our schools and law enforcement always wanting to keep us safe.” Stay positive and don’t freak them out. If they ask , “safety from what” then be honest and say you don’t know specifically. It’s important here to not have the news on or show them pictures. Images can be way more scary then words. Pray with them, thanking God for awesome people that work hard to keep them safe.
I was a youth pastor for many years with preteens and teens. They are very smart. With them it’s important to not gloss over it or ignore their feelings. Ask them how they are feeling about it all. If you relate tell them you get it. Take a similar approach with the younger kids but with room to talk more about it if need be. Encourage them that we need wisdom when it comes to all safety. Say you are thankful for the school and law enforcements using wisdom to keep us safe. Pray with them and thank God you can talk to Him about everything even your fears and thank Him for wisdom and the brave men and women who work hard to keep us safe.
Check with them in a few days. How is it going? How you feeling? Have you thanked your teachers and law enforcement etc.
With teens it is important to know the dynamic of your teens ability to walk through fear and emotions. Seek first to understand. Listen to and help them talk through their emotions. Remember make sure you are in a good place to do this. If applied, bring in both parents or a friend to help talk through it. After you talk through their feelings, ask them what a good response to to their feelings and the situation could be. Listen and learn they might have insight you don’t. Offer different responses that would be good. After they talk, affirm their safety and once again gratefulness for those who work hard to keep us safe. This is a good time to remind the kids to say thank you to their teachers, principles, law enforcement etc. Pray with them and talk to God about it and thank God for your teenager and their ability to talk through things. Highlight their positive responses. Thank God for the men and women that work hard to keep us safe.
3) Be a great neighbor: Community is key. Knowing the people you spend most of your day with and live near is important for safety. Using this as an opportunity to get to know the parents of your kid’s friends is important overall. Take a minute today and walk next door or stop and say hello to someone who’s outside in your neighborhood. Get to know their name. We put on BBQs and events in our community for people to get to know each other to provide a positive and safe community.
4) Be a stakeholder: This is your community, your kid’s school, and your home. Claim it and get involved. We are all too quick to run away, instead stand firm and make our home a better place. Sadly in a broken world with evil there are issues everywhere. Invest in yourselves, others and community to provide a better place. Our goal is to bring the ways of Jesus to earth. That is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self control and more.
We are praying with you and for you. Let us know how we can support firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends and Family,