It’s hard to watch the news these days. Especially if your kids are around. Do you find yourself turning it down, turning the channel, or turning it off? Do your kids look over your shoulder while you’re on social media? Too much news is too much. We’ve had some terrible things happening in our world. Kids will find out about it. We hate for them to know the “newsworthy” worst of humanity, but we can also look at these events as a great way to teach our kids how to work through tough issues. If we run away from hard topics, we’ll still be teaching our kids, but teaching them to ignore and hide their feelings rather than learning ways to cope. They will hear about these things. Isn’t it better for us to be the ones teaching them and guiding them through how to handle these difficult times in our lives rather than letting our kids muddle through on their own?
It is important to talk about tough topics. Here are some basic steps you can try. You may have time and attention to go through all of the suggestions in this article in one sitting. Or you may do a little bit here and there. Just start.
Let’s talk about racial injustice. We’ve seen horrendous and shocking videos. How can we broach these subjects?
Ask your kids some questions and give them plenty of time and room to answer. Sometimes you can talk in the car or around the dinner table. Sometimes, talk one-on-one at bedtime. Or bring it up just after you’ve seen something.
Ask: Have you heard of racism? What does that mean? Have you seen people treated differently just because of their skin color or where they live? Parent: Share your experiences with racism.
Ask: Whom do we know who looks different than we do? What can we learn from knowing them? How can we love them the way God does?
Listen to their ideas. See if you can make some of them happen. You CAN talk to your kids about tough issues. Kids can handle it (and so can parents!). If we don’t talk to them, if we’re not honest with them, they can imagine even worse things than reality. Or they get their information from other sources. Or they hold it in and worry about it. We want to guide them.
In Deuteronomy 6:5–7 God tells us to teach our kids His commandments and talk about them as we sit in our houses, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise. What are those commandments? Love God and love others.
Take time to do a Bible study together. You can look up some verses. Take time to read them slowly together. Maybe just take a section at a time. You know your kids and their interests and attention span. Try these: 1 John 4:11 1 John 3:16–18 Matthew 5:43–48 1 Corinthians 13
Ask: How could we do some of the things these verses tell us to do? Brainstorm some ideas together.
Listen to God. Let’s have a few minutes where we listen to God tell us what He wants us to do. We don’t usually hear God’s audible voice telling us what to do, but, if we can quiet our hearts and listen, sometimes we have a new idea in our heart or mind that we believe comes from God. Maybe it’s part of a verse, maybe a song. Since we are asking God to speak to us, let’s have faith that He really will. Don’t worry if you don’t have a big revelation; sometimes just sitting with God is enough. You can say, “Here I am, God. Is there anything You want to tell me?”
Ask: Whom could we show love to? How? Whom could we pray for? Is there something else God wants us to do?
I felt very overwhelmed when I became aware of all the horrible things happening in our world. I wanted to fix everything, but I felt helpless. As I was talking to God about it, I felt Him tell me: “Just love the people next to you.” So, maybe that is what you and your family can do, too. Love them well. And that will look unique to you and your kids. And you’ll make the world a better place.