The turmoil and suffering in the Middle East right now can be enough to make your mama heart feel like it’s going to break into pieces. You know your own kids can’t handle the weight of the information we’re all seeing in our news feeds, but you also want them to be prepared with God’s perspective if and when they encounter any details. As you pray about what your kids might need from you in the coming days, here are a few talking points and things to consider.
1. Depending on your child’s age and school situation, some information may be necessary.
We knew that our 4th grader in public school would most likely hear other kids talking about the current sitution, and we didn’t want him to feel caught off-guard or be misinformed. We sat him down yesterday and went over the following points.
Basic information we want our child to know about current events:
- President Obama authorized missile airstrikes from jets in parts of Iraq to help defend innocent people from a group of men called the Islamic State who have invaded from a neighboring country (Syria).
- The group of men is very dangerous, and they are targeting Christians and others who believe differently than they do, including families. Many families are still trying to escape the danger by fleeing their homes on foot.
- Many people have died, and we need to pray because many are still in danger. Many are hungry and homeless.
We chose not to have this same talk with our 2nd grader, knowing that this kind of information would be more troubling to him. However, he did hear the adults in church this morning pray about the situation, and that gave him enough details to focus on the need to pray for the hurting people.
2. Older kids may have questions about why Christians are being targeted.
Our children go to school with many Muslim children, so it is important to us that they have a healthy perspective on the religious dynamics at play.
Basic information we want our children to know about Muslims:
- The dangerous men are targeting Christians and others who believe differently than they do because they are part of an extremist group of Muslims who believe that God wants all Christians and those with differing religious beliefs to die.
- The Muslims at their public school in Tennessee are not the same as these dangerous men. It is highly unlikely that their classmates hate Christians. Many that we have interacted with do not even practice their religious traditions. Some of them are Muslim only because of their cultural heritage.
- God wants us to love all people, and we are not to treat our classmates differently because of all that has happened. Just like we would not want them to treat us differently. They might feel confused and scared too, and we can pray for them.
3. All kids want to know that they are safe.
Our son asked us if those dangerous people will come over here and start killing Christians. The truth is, we don’t really know the answer to that. But we were able to reassure our children with the following information:
- Our country has lots of people who are working to keep bad guys out.
- In America, it is illegal for anyone to harm another person, and our police officers are always minutes away if a dangerous person were to threaten us or harm us because of our Christian faith.
- But we can’t control other people’s choices, and some people who live here do choose to hurt others. We always have to rely on the peace and protection of the Lord, no matter what.
4. Kids need to know that prayer is powerful.
Here are a few of the scriptures we have talked about in light of the situation in the Middle East. Our goal is to strengthen our kids with truth, give them words of peace to think about, and remind them of the authority they have as believers over spiritual darkness.
- Ephesians 6:12 – “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
- Zechariah 4:6 – “’It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
- Philippians 4:6-7 – “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 – “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
- 2 Timothy 1:7-8 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline. So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.”
Then we prayed heartfelt prayers for the people who are hurting and in danger. We also prayed against the spiritual wickedness, and for God’s light to extinguish the darkness.
I encourage you to be in prayer about what your kids need from you in light of current global situations. Answer every question with honesty, but measure your details with wisdom. Above all, love them and hug them, giving them a sense of safety and security in your care, the greatest picture of God’s love and care for them!
How are you handling current world events with your family? What conversations have been helpful?
Sarah Siegand is author of the book, Smart Girl, Stupid World: Choosing Right In A World Gone Wrong. Sarah has passionately served this generation for nearly 20 years, both in vocational pastoral ministry as well as part of her local church’s volunteer youth leadership team. She has a degree in Journalism and resides in Nashville, Tenn. where she does her greatest work as a wife and the mother of two boys. Find out more at smartgirlstupidworld.com