As my boys have gotten older the topics of our conversations have definitely changed. It’s often uncomfortable to talk about difficult things, but it’s important, and so I do. I don’t give them all the information, but I definitely give them some of it.
We were reading the story of Moses the other night in a children’s Bible. Do you remember the reason Moses’ mom had to hide him inside a homemade boat in the bullrushes? All of the Israelite baby boys had been ordered to be killed.
A few weeks ago we had been studying Roman history and I had mentioned the brutality of the Colosseum…
Then June 6th came and went (the D-day anniversary) and we added in a discussion about World War II.
And then that little boy of mine had been methodically rocking in the chair while we were recently watching the news. Suddenly he sat straight up and exclaimed, “What?? That’s NOT right!”
My kids are recognizing that on this earth many people suffer; and that hatred, greed, and the pursuit of power across the ages has caused a lot of pain.
But they are also learning that ALL OF THIS grieves the heart of God.
And if it grieves his heart, it should also grieve ours.
And they are learning that this wasn’t how the world was meant to be.
And that this isn’t what heaven will look like.
Slavery, war, concentration camps, residential schools, racism… the list of wrongdoing is long, and unfortunately always being added to.
So what can I do?
Teach them that God’s way is love.
“Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbour as yourself.” – Mark 12:29-31
Teach them the stories of the past.
I need to give names and faces to those who have suffered and to the brave ones who have stood up against injustice. When they hear names like Corrie Ten Boom, Nelson Mandela, and Rosa Parks, I don’t want them to say, “Who was that?” I want them to knowingly nod with respectful compassion.
They need to know that their words and actions matter, and they need to know the importance of standing up for those who aren’t being treated as they should.
And this training starts while they are still children in our home. We tell them often, “If you see anyone being mean or hurting your brothers, it’s your job to defend them BECAUSE they’re your family, and it’s the right thing to do.”
“Start practicing now how you will one day act as an adult.”
Sounds simple? Probably not. Important? Absolutely.
So I teach them, I talk to them, I pour the Word of God into them. And I pray and believe that they will grow up to be Godly young men who bring hope, love, and justice wherever they go.