We still do not know all of the details. And we might never know them all. But the United States of America has been attacked again, in a cowardly way. The goal of any kind of terrorism is to strike terror into the hearts of intended victims… There are actually two circles of targets in a terrorist attack: Those directly impacted by the attack. In the case of Boston, those killed, injured, and those who were eyewitnesses of this heinous action. The second circle is anyone who watches this on television, online, or through other forms of media… These are those who will fear based on this attack.
With all of that understood, what do we tell our children? We hold much of the key to their feelings of security and, unfortunately, they are growing up in an age where this seems to happen more and more often. How do we convey this message to them and preserve their sense of security??
First of all, remember that each child is different and will handle this information differently. Second, be very selective about which news shows and web articles you permit them to see… Over the last hours, some of the images on the web and in news coverage are pretty gruesome. While these images are true, I’ll confess at 46 years old there are a couple I wish I could unsee…
What can we do??
1. Tell them the truth … as they can handle it. I think God models this to us in how He has progressively revealed Himself to us. He has told us the truth, as we can handle it and process it. This is where you MUST know your children. And if you have different aged siblings, this will be tougher. But the best thing you can do is be as honest as you can with them.
2. A fact of life is that evil exists in this world. Most children can understand that. And, one of the saddest facts of what happened yesterday is the perpetrator(s) of this act of terror did this with no regard to the fact that they were hurting innocent people. In fact, that is what they intended to do. You cannot get any more evil than that.
3. Another fact is that God expects His people to bring LIGHT and GOODNESS into the world. So now WE have a job to do. Satan might have struck the first in this battle, but WE MUST WIN THE WAR. We can now find ways to bring GOOD to something that is really, really BAD.
4. Tell them to pray, and pray often. Pray for the victims. Pray for the first responders, who ran TOWARD the explosions while others ran away from them… (THESE FOLKS ARE HEROES! GOOD IS ALREADY RUNNING IN). Pray for those who will investigate this terrible crime, that they will find the truth. And, finally, pray for whomever did this. YES, Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I know this seems to go against EVERYTHING we feel inside right now, but they obviously are in DESPERATE NEED of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
5. We remind them to BE OF GREAT COURAGE. We allow a terrorist to win when we FEAR. I know that is hard, but God walks the paths of life with us everyday. Even when evil tries to strike us. And truthfully, we never know what will come our way. But we were not given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of POWER. Of courage. And we can defeat this act of terrorism by holding our heads high and being BRAVE.
Obviously I am no expert… I am sure many will find problems with some of what I have written. But the truth is always the best answer.