This week has been traumatic for Ohioans as we process and pray for the tragedy in Chardon. The shooting that occurred on Monday has left communities shaken and children scared. It is a tremendous blessing to work at 95.5 The Fish, and this week has been another reminder of the power of a caring community and concerned citizens uniting in prayer and support. As a family we talk about a lot of things, but I had no intention of discussion school shootings with my kids when I woke up Monday morning. Like thousands of other parents, this was an unexpected, uncomfortable topic to address. Although it was necessary, I found myself explaining it in a less than eloquent manner.
We read throughout scriptures and life, that tragedy is an ongoing fiber of being human. Being a parent today means walking the tightrope of preparing our kids for the inevitable horror stories they will be exposed to, but also seeking to preserve their innocence and belief in their fellow man and goodness of the world. I’m certainly no expert, but what I have gleaned in my years of parenting so far, is the importance to seek God in all circumstances, not shy away from the truth that we do live in a “valley of tears” and the importance of shining a light and learning lessons from experiences we are exposed to. Still, when something like this hits so close to home, it’s only natural for kids to feel frightened and wonder if this could happen to them. This morning on our program we received calls and e-mails from parents who are dealing with terrified kids who didn’t want to go to school and felt shaken by the close proximity of the tragedy. As we work together as parents and a community of believers, here are some things we can do to offer calm to our kids:
-The most important shield we have of course, is prayer. This is a great time to reinforce Ephesians 6:10-18 and the power of wearing the “Armor of God.”
-Print out scriptures like these that will offer comfort and strength. If there is one that particularly edifies your child, work as a team to memorize it so your child can lean on that verse whenever they feel anxious or afraid.
-“Wrap them in love” with sandwich scriptures. Ann Voskamp has printable sandwich wrappers that your child can see in the middle of the day and be reminded of your love and God’s peace.
-Focus on the Family has a fantastic “road map” for parents to follow when teaching kids about tragedy. Click here for the article.
Finally, never underestimate the power of physically “covering our kids” during times of crisis and distress. The power of touch offers healing and reassurance no matter what age! I only wish our kids were always this innocent: