It’s another tough week in America. If you’re like me, you’ll still trying to wrap your mind around what happened Wednesday afternoon in Parkland, Florida.
In the aftermath of the school shooting, I’d encourage you to be cautious about exposing your kids to the news coverage of the tragedy. Young children don’t have the ability to abstract, and they might believe the shootings occurred nearby…in their own town or neighborhood. They may even fear that a “bad guy with a gun” will come to their school.
If your child has already seen TV coverage of the tragedy, take the time to talk about what they saw and how it made them feel. Give them a chance to express their emotions and don’t minimize their fears, even if they are unrealistic.
If they ask “why did this happen?” it’s okay to say “no one really understands.” You can also explain that because we live in a fallen world, evil exists and that some people are capable of doing terrible things. But make sure to balance that fact with the truth that God loves us, and that He promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us, no matter what happens in this life.
Take time to pray with your kids this week and remind them that prayer is simply “talking to God” and is something we can do anytime, anywhere. You might lead them in prayer by saying something like this:
“Father, we don’t understand why this horrible thing happened. We are so sad about the kids who lost their lives at that school and what their families are going through right now. Please help them, and bring caring Christians around them during their time of grief. And help us not to be afraid when bad things happen in our world.”
Here are two bible verses you may want to memorize as a family this week:
1 Peter 5:7–“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
Philippians 4:6-7–“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”