This week our church staff have been discussing what we might do to help our people work through the horrific events that took place early last Sunday morning in Florida. This happens to be one of the most hectic weeks of my year – Vacation Bible School Week – and I don’t have much to give, in terms of time and energy, beyond the enormous VBS machine.
But yesterday morning, as all the adult helpers and children were busy and happily occupied, I sat down at my desk for just a short breath. I’d been watching love in action, right here in my own workplace, all week long. Somewhere in the back of my mind, thoughts had been bubbling away without my knowing it. I hit the “flow” zone without conscious thought. Within a few moments an email had practically written itself, and I sent it out to the nearly 100 families I work with:
This week we’ve seen yet another devastating shooting incident in our nation. As adults, we are reeling as we try to come to terms with our questions and emotions in the face of such tragedy. As parents we sometimes feel at a loss for how to help our children cope with the aftermath.
My three children were quite young at the time of 9/11/2001. We happened to be at home that morning; our neighborhood school, which our children attended and where I worked, had been closed – indefinitely – the day before due to an environmental hazard. Our family was still in shock from that eventuality when I started hearing news reports about the attacks on the east coast. I had to figure out on the fly how to address the terrorist attacks with a 5th grader, a 2nd grader, and a 1st grader right there in the room with me.
I suspect that many of you experience similar confusion each time our nation suffers gun-related mass violence.
The following article, from Sesame Workshop, offers some thoughts about getting through such painful situations with our children: http://www.sesameworkshop.org/our-blog/2013/04/19/more-tragic-times-helping-families-cope/ I hope you will find some helpful suggestions here.
And I’ll share with you Fred Rogers’ often-quoted words: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Those “people who are helping” are actively being the face of Christ to others. May we all be “people who are helping.”
With prayers for all families, for peace, comfort, and wisdom –