Your children live in a culture that is truly upside down. God is irrelevant or mocked in the news media. Prayer is illegal in schools. He has been removed from the history books. The idea of sin and accountability to a holy, righteous God is absent from our government. Pandemics and catastrophic events are connected to random chance, geological and meteorological phenomena, and human error. Your children live in a world that offers no comfort when tragic, unexpected loss occurs.
Do not wait until a catastrophic event happens to talk to your children about God’s interaction with their world. Here are some ways you can prepare your children to remain right-side up in a turbulent world.
Demonstrate it in your own life. As the saying goes, you cannot give what you don’t have. Children know when we are being genuine. The truth of Deuteronomy 6 directly applies here. Whatever is on your heart will be transmitted to their hearts. Ask God for a heart of humility so that, when challenging events come, your faith in his care and goodness will be impressed deeply on the hearts of your children.
Speak openly and frequently about how God is always caring for your family. Your everyday talk is the most important tool you have to prepare your children for the uneven, upending events of life. Reinterpret what the news media say about why things happen. The Bible is full of stories, illustrations, and commands that speak to the events of everyday life, both good and tragic. Thank God for a safe trip to the store or for a good day at school. This will help prepare both you and your children for the challenges that will come.
Begin building a set of scripture passages that speak to upside-down situations. The truths given in the book are not exhaustive. Engage your pastor and trustworthy resources to build a “toolbox” of truth that fits where you live and where your family finds itself in life. The same principles apply, no matter where you are, but the application of these truths may be quite different, depending on where you live. Someone living on the west coast of the United States will have differing applications to those who live in Switzerland or Singapore. The single mom will need to deploy these truths differently than the parents of a two-parent home.
Invest the time necessary to deeply know your children. Your children’s lives are marked by rapid change. It is vital that you know them well enough to see when an upside-down event has happened in their life. Events that take place that you are not aware of are shaping them in significant ways. Think back to your own childhood and remember how many times you felt alone or confused but were afraid to talk with your parents. Make things different for your children. Follow God’s example and become a place of safety and refuge for your children when they need it most.
Dominate your life with the constant, joyous praise of God. The psalmist teaches us to make your life about praise. As one popular song says, learn to praise him in the storm! Your children know the difference between genuine and superficial praise. Fill your heart and the lives of your children with abundant praise of the great God of heaven.
These ideas are just the beginning. Lead your children to a place of comfort and safety. Build your house upon the foundation of these truths so that when the storms come, you and your house will remain standing right-side up.
Excerpted from When Life Turns Upside-Down by John A. Younts.