Hearing about the bombing at the Boston marathon yesterday, fear is a natural response. We live in a crazy world don’t we? Over the last few months the news seems to be filled with extraordinarily scary stories: Jessica Ridgeway, the Newtown Shootings, threats from North Korea, and now the bombing at the Boston Marathon. I especially feel for mothers who are trying to reassure their kids this morning. Tough stuff, huh? While there are no easy answers for battling fear and teaching our children how to handle their feelings of fear, we can give them some tools that help. So how do we re-assure our children and find a bit of courage ourselves?
I have found the strongest weapons when fighting fear are scripture, prayer and praise. I believe you can empower your children to fight their fears with these as well. When my kids were young I had them memorize Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is will be with your wherever you go.” My husband grew up in Nigeria during the Biafra war. His parents taught their sons to memorize Psalm 91. Steve still has much of that Psalm memorized. When feelings of fear overwhelm, scripture is a great place for our minds to go. Another skill for your kids to learn is prayer. Teach them that they can talk with God anywhere and at anytime. Faith comes more naturally to children then to those of us who are parents. Prayer may feel like an “easy answer” to you – but to your children, prayer is extremely important. Most likely your children don’t have the doubts that you do – this is why Jesus told us to have faith like children. When they pray – they have no problem believing Jesus is right there with them. So teach them to pray!~ Praising God bolsters our courage and confidence whether we are adults or children. So turn on the praise music in your car and in your home. Limit the hours the TV is on – especially when the news reports are filled with horror. Instead, turn off the news and turn on praise music. Teach your kids to turn their panic into praise.
You are your child’s biggest coach when it comes to fear management. I know it may feel like fear is overwhelming you when you’re trying to model courage for them. Don’t despair. God is cheering for you. He knows the world we live in is crazy at times. He will breathe into you the courage you need to pass on to them.
How have you helped your kids cope with fear? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment. Later this week, I’ll draw a name and give out a Dairy Queen card. A trip to Dairy Queen with your child is a great way to celebrate life and not focus on fear – don’t ya think?