Here are five things you can talk about when speaking to children about terrorism.
Remind Them of Who God Is
If we remind children about how trustworthy God is, we might give them more peace of mind about the global terrorism that’s affecting all corners of the world. Remind them of Psalm 91, which says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:1-4) so that “you will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day” (Psalm 91:5). Tell them we stand upon the solid rock of God’s promises.
Reveal to Them the Likelihood
When children see the violence on TV or the Internet, they might begin to worry that it’s coming their way. We can remind them that, although no one is immune from terrorism, the chances are very slim that they will ever experience it even near them and in their lifetime. It seems that the media is always pushing to the front the latest violence in the world. Violence sells because it draws ratings. Tell them that they are not seeing all the good things that are happening in the world. Tell your children or grandchildren that television and Internet sites almost want you to be scared so they can make more money. Tell them the truth about the media and their thirst for broadcasting violence.
Explain Why There Is Terrorism
This might be a good Bible lesson about what Jesus said. We are to love our enemies and pray for them (Matt. 5:44). Many will hate us for what we believe, and it will be worse for people around the world if they are Christians. Tell them that’s to be expected, just as Jesus said (John 15:18). Tell children about the fall of Satan, or Lucifer, and how he is now opposed to God and, although he’s been defeated at Calvary, still holds sway over the nations and governments of the world. They should know that it’s a result of disobeying God and that the condition of the world and mankind’s heart was determined in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose for themselves the knowledge of good and evil instead of listening to God.
Listen to Them, Ask Them About It
One of the most crucial things you can do when talking with children is give them a chance to speak. Listen to them. What are they telling you about their feelings? Are they even concerned about terrorism? Ask them open-ended questions. Sometimes it helps just to talk, and if children are allowed to express their feelings and get things out in the open, they’re more likely to come to you at other times of distress and feel safe in coming to you.
Explain How You Feel About It
Tell your children that some nations are trying to keep the terrorists from spreading, so it is sometimes necessary for nations to attack them so that the terrorists don’t spread and grow. Explain how you feel about terrorism so that they can assess their own feelings when placed against yours. Children may not know how much or how little to worry if they don’t see your own levels of concern. If they know you’re not stressing out over it, they’re going to feel a lot safer than if you are wringing your hands with worry. Fear is highly contagious.
It seems like there’s no safe place on Earth beyond the reach of terrorism anymore, but “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). So let’s remind our children and grandchildren just who God is; the likelihood of terrorists coming near them, listening to them very carefully; why there is terrorism in the first place; and how you feel about it. Above all, remind them that “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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