I lived in Colorado when the Columbine school shooting occurred, and it is a memory that shapes you. As much as we want to shield our children from the evil in the world, there are occasions when the right response is to empower and equip them amid danger and uncertainty.
One summer, our town was hit with deadly wildfires that kept everyone on edge for weeks. A mom came to me for help with her children, who were fighting nonstop and acting out. I asked what she told them about the fire, and she said, “Oh, we are protecting them by not telling them about it.” I lovingly encouraged her to stop lying to her children. The reality is our town WAS in danger, and we were going through REAL fear. To tell a child who feels it in the atmosphere that it is ‘nothing’ robs them of having a sound mind. Their bellies scream one thing while their trusted parent tells them another. This causes them to be confused and feel wildly insecure (hence the acting out). Children do not need to carry the weight of all the gory details, but when tragedy and crisis hit their world, in this case, their schools, parents, you have the privilege and responsibility of walking them through it. There is no doubt when school resumes, there will be talk on the playground. Picture the child who was told it was nothing by their parents and gets an earful from peers yet is expected to carry on in math class with no one to help them interpret what they are hearing. Now picture the child who was told the truth and was allowed to process their concerns and emotions with a loving parent. Which one do you want your child to be?
I encourage you to call a family meeting and talk about what is happening and allow the Spirit to lead you. Age-appropriate details are wise but share the truth, nonetheless. I like to share word pictures that help my children understand big events. In this case, I might ask them if they remember a time where they had a big meltdown and explain that sometimes adults get super upset about things and throw temper tantrums. This is the simplest way to explain the irrational behavior of an adult. Instead of seeing the offender as a big bad scary person, we can expose them for their immaturity and weakness in character. Ask them if they ever remember saying things in anger when they were mad. You can tell them there is a person who threw a big temper tantrum and has made threats with their words. When a child says mean things, they get disciplined for it by a parent, but when an adult makes threats or comments that include being mean to others, it is the policeman’s job to keep people safe.
Now is a GOLDEN time to talk to your children about Jesus being their friend. Role-play how to go to Jesus when they are away from Mom and Dad, feeling scared or afraid. This applies to overnights at a friend’s house, at the mall, or even in their schools. The enemy wants to scream fear at your child through the event, but as parents, we turn to Him and teach our children to declare the name of Jesus. I would highlight the following truths: God is in control. They have police and leaders who take their safety seriously. They are not alone – Jesus is always with them. They can ask Jesus for help. They are not a victim but powerful. I encourage you to walk your child through taking AUTHORITY over THEIR school. Recently, my daughters had to walk through over 20 classmates getting suspended or expelled for vaping. They began to rise up and pray that their school would be a no-vaping campus (out of protection for their friends). They had authority because it was their school. They can declare no weapon is allowed on their campus. Ask God to release angels to protect their school. Pray for the teachers, that they would have a check in their spirit when they need to act on something. Make declarations over their campus regarding kids being safe and protected. Remind them that they are NOT in danger, but the schools were closed to keep them safe. Fill their love tanks often today, which helps them to roll with life’s bumps. Empower them in the face of evil, not to cower in fear, but to smear the power and love of Jesus all over all that belongs to them, which includes their school.
Lisa responds to the Vegas shootings – YouTube