Why you Shouldn't Wait to Teach your Kids that Life is Hard.
Guest Post by Natalia Terfa.
As a pastor, one of the things I’m often asked about is what to tell kids when someone gets sick or dies. How much should they be included in? How much can they handle?
Oof. This is so hard.
First, because every parent turns into a mama or papa bear at the exact moment they realize something might hurt their kid. Even if it’s emotional.
The way I answer this is pretty much the same across the board: you know your kid best, so do what you think you should, but they can handle a lot more than you think they can.
Kids are amazing in hard times.
Sometimes they have the best responses, sometimes they say the perfect thing that no grown up would ever think to say. And it’s beautiful and incredible.
And yes, sometimes they say the worst possible thing, at the worst possible time, but even then, it’s beautiful and incredible, (and likely what everyone else is wondering too).
That lack of filter in kids is helpful in tough times, because they can help us come face to face with the reality of our situation. It’s hard, but they need to know their questions are good, that they are safe to ask them, and that their grief is ok, no matter how it comes out.
And their resiliency is helpful as well, because kids can find joy more easily than adults, especially in tough times.
So no matter how mama or papa bear we grownups get, I try to encourage parents never to exclude kids from the reality of this hard life. They’ll find out eventually right? Why not be there to help them through it the first couple of times.
Here’s the other thing.
I’ve been asked so many times lately if I’m going to write an “Uplift for kids” book.
And my answer is no.
Because it would be the exact same as this one.
I don’t think we need to dumb down things for kids. They get it.
They understand God in a way that I don’t even always understand.
So I encourage families to process together.
Read this devotional together and talk about it.
Let them know life is hard for everyone - not just for kids, but for grownups too.
Let them see when you cry or are angry, when you don’t understand.
And then, let them know that they aren’t alone.
That you’re there. And when you can’t be there, no matter when or where, God will always be with them, ready to help, ready to listen, ready to love.
Quick Summary of Uplift by Natalia Terfa:
No matter how old we are, where we live, or what we believe - there are times in everyone's life that cause us to struggle. An it's in those times that we want nothing else but a word of hope and instead are so often surrounded by trite platitudes and false promises.
This is not that.
This small book was written to be something different: to uplift those who need it, to bring grace and love and light to the darkest times, and to be a voice of hope in the world where hope is often at a premium.
Read it yourself and be uplifted, or gift it to someone going through dark days.
We all need a little hope in difficult times. This is just a place to start.
Buy the Book: Amazon
Meet the Author:
Natalia Terfa is a pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. She is passionate about grace, yoga, and reading. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter - the love of her life.
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