How should we be talking to children about faith during this difficult and challenging time?
Children react to news stories in a variety of ways. Over the past few weeks I have seen completely different perspectives from children. One view was a young person thinking the virus would only effect the older generation and that they had nothing to worry about, apart from how it may affect their education. An opposite view was seeing fear in what’s going on and being extremely worried, for themselves, their families, friends and the rest of the world. As parents or carers, how do we support our children through this? What if our children ask us those difficult questions? How are we to respond?
Every child should be given an opportunity to express their feelings and anxieties. This may result in them asking those tricky and difficult questions. Just how do we as their parents or carers deal with it? And how can we share faith when we face questions of fear?
- We should be reassuring our children that God is bigger than this. We as adults need to put our trust in Him, pray more than ever before and model this to our children.
- Be honest with them about what’s happening in the world and allow opportunities for them to ask questions? Don’t be afraid to not know the answers. It’s ok to say I don’t know, but don’t leave it there. Reassure the children with what you do know about God and that even though we don’t have the answers, He does and we need to trust God.
- Look together at Bible verses that give hope and bring words of peace. E.g. Psalm 91:1-2. Help children to see that through all of this, God is still our refuge and strength and not to lose sight of how great He is.
- Watching dvd’s of bible stories. There are some great dvd’s out there, like “What’s in the Bible?” Created by Phil Vischer (Creator of VeggieTales) The series is really fun to watch, yet raises some great thoughts and questions on faith, creating great opportunities for families to discuss at a deeper level and pray together.
- Pray – Allow time to pray, especially for the concerns raised by your children. In your prayers, remind them that God is our comfort and strength an ever-present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1) Perhaps light a candle as you focus on Jesus being the light of the world as we remember people who are struggling in dark times.
We are in a situation like we’ve never dealt with before, so it’s a learning curve for us. Our children will respond differently. The best we can do is to hold onto Jesus ourselves, put Him at the centre of it all. Keep strong in our faith and live this out as we model our relationship with God to our offspring. Keep sharing the Bible with our children and continue to pray.
Written by Fiona Stutton, Thrive’s Children’s Ministry Adviser
What’s in the Bible by Phil Vischer