Helping Families by Tearing Down Walls

Faith Breakthroughs

Archive for the ‘Confusion’ Category

Talking to Kids About Tragedy

December 15, 2015

 


Newton, Connecticut. Boston, Massachusetts.  West, Texas.  Moore, Oklahoma. Recent tragedies have  broken our hearts as so many others before, but some of these have been different. They invaded the lives of young children – little ones that looked a lot like our little ones. And because there were children involved, our kids are going to be asking a lot of questions in the next few days.

As parents, one of our primary roles is to be constantly teaching. When it comes to “Life 101,” class is always in session. This doesn’t change in the midst of tragedy, as awkward as the role may be. Most kids are asking the same innocent question that we all ask – “Why?” – and our ability to respond correctly can help turn a terrible situation into an opportunity to talk about some tough-but-necessary topics.

As a father of three and a pastor and author who has dedicated two decades to helping parents, I am still left wanting for the right words to say in such an awful situation. Still, I’ve learned a few things along the way, and hopefully these ideas will help you navigate this difficult road with your children:

• Remind them that they can trust God – even in tough times. Consider saying, “Sometimes things happen that we can’t completely understand. We know that bad things happen in this world because there are bad people. But it doesn’t mean God doesn’t care about those little children. In fact, that’s why Jesus came – so He could rescue us from evil and be with Him some day in a perfect place!”

• Pray for everyone involved.  We do this, most importantly, because God hears our prayers and answers them. But prayer also does something else: it reminds us that God is with us, and that He can help in ways that no one else can.

• Don’t act like you have all the answers.  They won’t believe you anyway if you start making stuff up. It’s okay to say, “You know what? That’s a good question, but a hard one. I’ve wondered that too.” But follow it up by sharing something that you DO know. You don’t have to pretend to be certain about everything if you can demonstrate that they can be certain about many things: your love for them, God’s love for them, the fact that you will do everything you can to protect them, that their schools are safe – and will be even safer – after this, etc.

• Listen and don’t ignore questions or inquiries.  Pay attention to even the most passing comments. If your child knows anything about what happened, you can count on the fact that he’s thinking about it, and you want to be ready to talk when he is.

• Keep life normal and routine.  Young children always fare better when life is as stable as possible.

• Sharply limit media exposure in young children, and be there to explain what is seen.  The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that “overexposure to the media can be traumatizing. It’s unwise to let children or adolescents view footage of traumatic events over and over. Children and adolescents should not watch these events alone.” Kids may have a hard time discerning that only one gunman went into only one school, for example, when they see reports for hours on end on different channels as they’re looking over your shoulder.

After you take those initial steps, you have an opportunity to proactively use a tough situation as a teachable moment. Point out the good things that can happen:

• Place emphasis on the heroes of the events –  emergency personnel, teachers, and other students. Perhaps write a letter of encouragement to people who worked to help from the area police departments.

• Seek out stories about the people who are working to help the families who have been hurt by tragedy – churches, doctors, and even school personnel. Talk about how wonderful it is that people are willing to help others.

• Share the ways that your local schools have announced they are working to improve security.  Almost every school district made some sort of statement about the tragedy. You can find most of these statements online at your school’s or school district’s website.

• Help kids find ways to help –  let them come up with creative ways!

•  Finally, look for any signs that might indicate high levels of anxiety in your child.  Remember: what we see as replay footage or something horrific that happened in another town, our children may interpret as something that keeps happening very close to home. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology points to the following symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in kids:

o Refusal to return to school and “clinging” behavior
o Persistent fears related to the catastrophe
o Sleep disturbances such as nightmares, screaming during sleep and bedwetting.
o Abnormal behavior problems.
o Withdrawal from family and friends.

If you start to see any of these behaviors in the following week, it might be worth a call to your doctor, pastor, or school counselor to inquire about some additional help.

It is almost overwhelming to take in the magnitude of the tragedy that has taken place in multiple locations over the past few months. It’s even more challenging when children hear that it involved children just like them. It makes me angry that such conversations have to take place. As a Christian, I’m grateful for the promises of something better – because Christ has overcome the evil in the world and will one day eradicate evil, sin, sickness, war, and death from this earth. In the meantime, God has put moms, dads, grandparents, and mentors like you in their path to remind them everything will be okay.

 


Confusion in our Lives

March 5, 2015

This is a guest blog entry written by Jeremy Hall, Student Ministries Pastor at Bannockburn Baptist Church.

“Confusing” is a widely used word in our culture today and it often helps us communicate our intellectual state. For example, I find crossword puzzles confusing, the DFW Airport is confusing, and the study of epistemology is confusing. But sometimes I am confused not because of my intellectual state, but because of my emotional state. For example, in the ministry in which I serve, there are teens living with illnesses such as cancer, Cystic Fibrosis and diabetes. Intellectually I can understand that in this fallen world things like this happen, but emotionally I am confused. I am confused by how a teen could possibly have to endure these illnesses. I am further confused when I look at the status of many families in America. It confuses me when I hear of parents neglecting their kids or men that have forsaken their marriage vows. Intellectual confusion hurts my head whereas emotional confusion elicits a feeling of heartache.

Confusion is a reality in our world, but it becomes a wall in my life whenever I allow my intellectual and emotional confusion to become spiritual confusion. This spiritual confusion I am talking about is partnered with frustration that stems from my desire to see things work out differently than they have and then become frustrated that they haven’t. This often leads me to blame God and wonder how in the world He could let such a thing happen. Ultimately, my response to spiritual confusion is to think that I have the right to judge God. At the very moment that we take it upon ourselves to put God on trial, we have ceased to worship Him and have tried to become Him and the “wall” between us and God has been erected. Not because God put the wall there, but because we have.

The wall of confusion is an ever present struggle in many of our lives. I have found that the only way to combat this wall is through the strength of the Holy Spirit and a change in the way I view circumstances. Instead of focusing on what I wish or think should happen, I must view life’s challenges as opportunities to learn from God, allow Him to transform me (Romans 12:2), and place my faith in the One that is in control (Hebrews 11:1). Being confused isn’t a bad thing; in fact it can be very healthy as we seek to better understand that which confuses us. But we must be diligent to not allow our confusion to keep us from resting in the Lord and proving ourselves faithful to Him.


Confusion

February 5, 2015

Confusion is a mindset that is divided by conflicting information.

When we try to fully understand God, there will always be moments when we’re stumped. This would stand to reason, because we are not God. And yet, the intellectual pursuit of truth can be a dead end apart from the faith that brings understanding despite answering every complex question. Like Solomon’s account in Ecclesiastes, reducing God to a systematic evaluation will leave the student ever wanting and unsatisfied.

Some things we call confusion:

  1. Dysfunction
  2. Resentment
  3. Exasperation
  4. Frustration

Start your faith breakthrough now!
The spiritual barriers people face are countless, but they can be categorized into Eight Primary Walls. These walls correlate with the 8 primary breakthroughs that everyone needs.
Enter your email to get started!

1 of 48
I feel compelled to make the world around me better.
2 of 48
I tend to expect the worst to happen.
3 of 48
I feel there is a disconnect between who I really am and how I act in front of other people.
4 of 48
I find myself drawn to things I know are bad for me.
5 of 48
I believe God is loving and kind.
6 of 48
When bad things happen, I wonder if God can make things better.
7 of 48
I think God cares about the details of my life.
8 of 48
I find myself more focused on the things I don't have but wish I did.
9 of 48
I believe God is willing and able to answer my prayers.
10 of 48
I don't believe anyone can ever know what is absolutely true.
11 of 48
I have witnessed things that make me wonder if God is in control.
12 of 48
I worry that God is angry with me.
13 of 48
I am willing to serve others for nothing in return.
14 of 48
When I am facing a difficult situation, I feel like I can solve problems on my own.
15 of 48
I observe things that make me wonder if I should believe the Bible.
16 of 48
When looking back on my life, I tend to focus on all of the things I did wrong.
17 of 48
I am confident God has forgiven me for my past.
18 of 48
People who have hurt me in the past cause me to avoid some relationships today.
19 of 48
I am amazed at God's power.
20 of 48
When bad things happen, I feel like I am getting what I deserve.
21 of 48
I am willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for something better down the road.
22 of 48
I have to guard against judging people when I learn they are dealing with tough circumstances.
23 of 48
I believe God loves me in spite of who I am.
24 of 48
I spend too much of my energy pursuing material things.
25 of 48
I look forward to good things in my future.
26 of 48
I have too many of my own problems to deal with the problems of others.
27 of 48
I am grateful for the things I have been given.
28 of 48
I feel strong relationships are hard, but worth it.
29 of 48
I believe God wants what is best for me.
30 of 48
I think that God will meet all my needs.
31 of 48
I feel with God's help, I can face any situation.
32 of 48
My faith practices are more about routine than relationship.
33 of 48
I question why God allowed certain things to happen in my life.
34 of 48
I am so busy that I find myself ignoring the most important things in my life.
35 of 48
I worry about the problems that the future holds.
36 of 48
I try to avoid temptations that would bring me harm.
37 of 48
I have a hard time trusting people.
38 of 48
I believe truth is the same for everyone.
39 of 48
I feel I can turn to God for direction.
40 of 48
I have been wronged in the past in a way I cannot get over.
41 of 48
It humbles me to think I can know God.
42 of 48
I am intentionally seeking to grow in my relationships with others.
43 of 48
I believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
44 of 48
People would describe me as a giving person.
45 of 48
I know a lot of people, but don't feel very close to many people.
46 of 48
The possibility of gaining a good friend is worth the risk.
47 of 48
It troubles me that God has not answered my prayers.
48 of 48
I believe the Bible has answers for today's circumstances.
Great you have finished the evaluation.
Ready to see the results?