Explaining Frightening News to Our Kids

Leadership / Parenting //

Today’s guest blogger is Roger Massey. Roger is a writer in our Club Ministries Department. He has good insight on how to explain the news to our kids.

In tonight’s news.

A 14-year old boy opened fire with an automatic rifle during assembly. Three students were killed and seven others were injured. When asked why he did it, the boy said, “They made fun of my shoes.”

Governor Barkhouse was arrested last night for cocaine possession. He told reporters that he is very sorry for what he’s done. This incident is surprising in light of the strong stand against drugs the governor took in his election campaign.

Rover’s quarterback Stan Harcourt is under investigation for beating his wife. This took place just months after allegations that he assaulted a maid in a hotel room. Last year, Harcourt authored a popular book on the importance of living for God.

And so goes the news. These stories are fiction, but they sound familiar, don’t they? Similar events make the news every day.

We often worry about the shows and movies kids watch, but the news is usually just as bad, or worse. Media revels in immorality. The private lives of celebrities are publicized for all to see.

People caught doing wrong often respond by pointing to the sins of others, and reporters can’t wait to spread the story. Even long-dead personalities are not immune — allegations and insinuations have been made about almost every historical figure you can name, including Jesus Christ.

Kids know what’s going on. If they’re on the Internet or watching TV or having conversations with friends, they know

As leaders in a kids’ ministry, how should you respond? When kids ask disturbing questions, should you reply or change the subject? Should you wait for them to ask, or should you bring up the topic?

It won’t work to pretend that nothing’s wrong. Kids have questions and they will find the answers somewhere. Many kids have family members who do a fantastic job dealing with difficult issues. For them, what you say will reinforce what they hear at home. But some of your kids may have nobody else to turn to.

They will want to know:

Why does God allow people to do these kind of things?

The governor and athletes drink and do drugs. Why shouldn’t I?

Why should I follow God’s standards? My teacher says there is no God.

Are you ready with answers?

You don’t need to go into detail, but you do need to explain why certain behaviors are sin.

There are solid, moral men and women in the public eye. They are often portrayed as role models, but there are no guarantees. Sometimes adults with strong testimonies fall into very public sin. And the world will announce it and celebrate it for all to hear. Their sin becomes justification for others to sin. Positive role models become negative role models.

What kids need is a better role model. Give them Jesus Christ. He will never fail them.

Josh McDowell writes:

“We help our youth determine right from wrong when we teach them to fear God and to look to Him — His nature and character — as the measure of truth and morality. We help them take the first step in this process of distinguishing right from wrong through the Test of Truth, which asks, How does it compare to the original? An attitude or behavior is not wrong just because adults frown, stamp their feet, and say it’s wrong. The truth, which flows out of the nature of God into His laws, is right for all people, for all times, for all places.”

When God created this world, it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Man sinned, and the world was cursed (Genesis 3:16-19).  As a result, wars are raging, violent crime is everywhere, disease is killing thousands. People NEED God. They just don’t WANT Him. They don’t want to be responsible for their actions. They justify themselves by eliminating God from their philosophy (Romans 1:21-22).

It isn’t enough to explain the problem to your kids. You need to teach them the proper response.

Philippians 3:20 says: But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians are citizens of a different world, living temporarily in a foreign land called earth. The culture is not only alien but hostile. There’s a war going on, and we’re behind enemy lines.

Paul had this in mind when he wrote the believers in Philippi.  Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that … I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents (Philippians 1:27-28a).

These verses don’t say that our heavenly citizenship is established by standing firm. Just the opposite in fact. It is because of our citizenship in heaven that we should stand firm.

Paul tells the Corinthians to Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13). We can’t be isolated from the world. We need to watch, be awake, be vigilant, be aware of what is going on. And we need to stand fast in Christ.

Encourage your kids to stay focused on Christ. When a role model fails, look to Christ who will never fail. When senseless violence and immorality dominate the news, look to Christ who always makes sense. When the world attacks and belittles Christians, look to Christ who provides a haven. Whatever the problem, whatever the question, Christ is the answer.

You can’t hide the news from your kids, but you can offer them Good News that provides the answer they need.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvationj for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13).





About the Author

Life is about my love for the Lord and teaching kids about His Word; about serving at Awana (20 years); about collecting counties (every county we visit is marked on a giant map) and grandkids (6) --- and writing about it all. My latest book is How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph (David C. Cook).