When I read my children Bible stories, a phrase that arises time and time again is "fear not." My children, in their innocence, believe this phrase. So do I.
Not that they don't have any fears. We deal with occasional nightmares and worries like anyone else. But they believe God is with them. That He takes good care of them. Their world is a lovely framework of safety and security--one long trust from day's end to day's end. It's beautiful, the way they understand life.
I've been asked a few times why we haven't told the kids about what happened in our sweet town a few weeks ago, and this is the reason. They have no capacity to wrap their minds around it--it would only introduce new, unneeded and unhelpful fears.
You have only to look at Facebook to see that we as parents, as grown adults, as citizens, can't understand what has happened. We try to wrestle it out, make sense of it somehow.
But it doesn't make any sense. What hope do my young kids have of understanding something I cannot? There is a time and space for the conversation, but this is not the time, nor is this the space.
I've raised my children to be sensitive, and I will guard that sensitivity for as long as possible. Instead of believing that this ill prepares them for the 'real world,' I believe the opposite. My children know loss and struggle--they know of leaving cultures and birthmothers, of wishing for family, of modern-day slavery.
But they know about overcoming, too. About happy endings. About the fact that we are called--that they are called--to make a difference in the world. And that making a difference is actually possible.
Hope, optimism, trust, faith. I'll do my best to leave fear behind as I stir up these qualities in the hearts and minds of my little ones.
A note: Remember I'm doing what is right for my family, and what is right for yours may be different. This message may or may not be for you--see how it feels and follow your own internal compass.
"Children need to know that theirs is a good world. They need to feel that,
sheltered by those they love, they are where they should be.
They have a place, in a time and a world of hope and promise."
~ Kim John Payne, Simplicity Parenting (probably my favorite parenting book ever!)