Talking to Kids about Hard Things
If you are following the suggested use dates, this week’s session is “Joseph Sent to Egypt.” How kind is it that God would time a session dealing with His sovereignty over hard things after our world was sent reeling from the terrorist attacks on Paris last weekend? I certainly advocate for limiting a young child’s exposure to media as well as refraining from talking about the event in depth while he or she is present. Chances are, however, that kids are going to hear something about the Paris tragedy.
While I would discourage you from bringing up Paris in your class this week, I do think it is wise to be prepared to talk to kids about the evils of the world, particularly when the Bible story for the day puts it on display.
Let’s take some cues from Jonathan Edwards as we think through communicating with kids about hard things: (1) All your bad things will turn out for good. (2) Your good things can never been taken away from you. (3) The best things are yet to come.
- All your bad things will turn out for good.
God was not at all surprised about what happened to Joseph or what happened in Paris last weekend. God knew everything that would happen in the world before He even created it. God never stops working out His divine plan. For the one who trusts in Christ, God has bound Himself to give only good things. God showed Himself strong in Joseph’s tragedy, and God will continue to show Himself strong while He works for His glory and our good. Be calm as you talk with kids and help them see that one day, like Joseph, we will be able to say, “What the terrorists planned for evil, God planned for good.”
- Your good things can never be taken away.
Mourning the loss of human life and feeling righteous indignation toward those who caused the loss is a good and right thing. Emotions display our humanity. Jesus lamented over the condition of Jerusalem and wept with Mary and Martha over the loss of their brother. Jesus showed His anger toward those who were misusing the temple by overturning their tables. Encourage your kids to feel their feelings. Don’t dismiss their concerns. They need to know you understand, but remind them that fear does not have to be our end response when scary things happen. For Christians, our hope is secure. We do not hope in a leader. We do not hope in a government. We do not hope in a nation. Our citizenship is in another kingdom. Through His work on the cross, Jesus secured our salvation eternally.
- The best things are yet to come.
I was encouraged to see the hashtag #prayforparis on my social media feeds. God most definitely has made His eternal power and divine nature clear to all people, whether they acknowledge it or not. Remind kids that while we grieve, we do not do so without hope. We know that Jesus Christ is coming back. He will redeem everything the enemy has tried to destroy. Until then we pray and we share the love of Christ with a world that so desperately needs it.
Check out these articles for more tips on talking to kids about hard things.
4 Ways to Talk to Kids about Troubling Times
Dealing with Children during Crisis
Karen Jones is the preschool content editor for The Gospel Project for Kids. Karen came to LifeWay in 2014 after serving as Minister to Preschool and Children at Third Baptist Church of Murfreesboro, TN for seven years. Karen has over 15 years experience in preschool and children’s ministry. Karen earned an M.A. in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.