Hey! My name is Ashley and I am a 30 year old mom with 6 kids born in 6 consecutive years. I love Jesus and have been married to my amazing husband for 10 years. I am also trying to navigate life with a chronic illness- I may not be able to control what it does to my body, but I can control what it does to my spirit. I'm in the middle when it comes to parenting and life..too crunchy for some, too mushy for others- but just right for me. My life is blessed and I want to share my journey with you.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
TMTT- Kids Questions on Tragedy
I have never before been so undone. This tragedy hit me harder than anything I can remember...all day Friday I was an absolute wreck. I am so grateful to all my friends who reached out with love and prayers and support for me. My parents always used to say that they loved my sister and me so much that they wished they never had us. It always sounded really strange to me...until I had my own kids.
I wish I never had to address issues like this with my kids. But we are in this world and as long as we are, there will be difficult things to face. Today I am going to share some questions that my kids asked me, along with the answers I gave them.
Mom, what is going on?
My son asked me this when he saw me crying and when I told him I was canceling school for the day. While the younger kids were napping, I sat down my 6 year old, 5 year old, and almost 4 year old and I told them that something very sad happened. I told them that a man went into a little kid school with a gun and killed a lot of people and that a lot of them were little kids. I told them it was all very sad and that we needed to pray for the families who are very sad. We sat and prayed and then I talked to them a little bit and asked if they had questions. I did not elaborate much more, but the thing I think is most important when having difficult conversations is to make sure you are conveying the emotions that you want them to have. What I mean is, I did not convey any fear at all...I spoke gently, but very matter-of-factly. I did not sound scared or confused...kids pick up very, very strongly on your emotions and if they sense that you are in control and confident, then they will feel secure even in the mist of bad, sad, or scary news.
Is the man still shooting people?
I told them that the man with the gun was dead and that he was no longer shooting people. I told them that the police and soldiers arrived very quickly and rescued many many people. I also shared with them that Mister Rogers quote that was going around facebook- that whenever you see bad things, you can always look and you will find people doing good things. In this case, I told them of all the people who were doing everything they could to help the kids and families.
Why did the man do this?
I told them I didn’t really know why, but he must have been a very sad man to do something so bad. I told them this is why it is so important to pray for people and tell people about Jesus, because people who do not know Jesus can get very sad and can feel very lost. They know Bible stories and they know about Satan, so I was able to draw their attention to the fact that Satan is always trying to get people to sin, but that Jesus is always bigger and more powerful than Satan, and that Jesus is always with us.
The kids are in heaven now.
This was not a question, but a statement which I was able to confirm and expound upon. I told them that the children were probably confused for a moment about what was going on, but then all of a sudden they were being carried to heaven by Jesus and now they are in heaven and can never be hurt or scared every again. My kids like hearing about this- they ask me if you can ever get hurt in heaven, so it is wonderful to be able to tell them just how happy heaven is. I told my kids very, very seriously that they should never be afraid. I told them that if a man with a gun was ever near them (or if anything scary ever happened), that they should not be scared because Jesus would be with them and if anything ever happened, they knew they would be carried away by Jesus. My oldest son then told me (and he has said this before) that he wished he could die now so he could be with Jesus. He did not say this in any way except a kid being honest and comfortable and actually excited about one day seeing Jesus. This is the best thing I could have heard. Because I convey truth to them in a confident, loving manner, they are also confident and feel loved and secure. They are not afraid of death- they know that their loving Lord will be waiting to be with them.
I wish I never had to have these conversations, but I am so happy that we know the Lord and have the wonderful promise that this life is not the end- that we will be together forever in heaven. Please remember that kids really do pick up on your non-verbal cues. There is nothing wrong with showing emotions, but remember what you know and believe- that this life is temporary and that even the worst things that can happen can never separate us from Jesus. Hold your kids, kiss your kids, tell them you love them and pray with them constantly. Let them see you go through things and let them see you bring it all to the Lord.
Please keep those families and the other survivors in your prayers. Their lives will never be the same again and they need the love and comfort that only Jesus can give.
*On a little more positive note, please stay tuned in to my blog posts, because in the next week or two I will be having my first ever give-a-way!