In 2011, my husband and I were blessed to be able to go to Europe for two weeks! We began our journey in France, then to Belguim, Holland and then returned to France. Our final few days of our trip were spent in Paris. What a beautiful city! The Arc de Triomphe, la Tour Eiffel and the chocolate croissants- YUM!
This weekend our family was talking about Paris once again. Not because it won some invisible competition for the worse thing that happened around the world, but because my parents flew into Paris Friday morning!
Yes, my parents who are in their sixties and were excited to go to Europe for the first time. Yes, my parents who were looking forward to getting a break from some of the stress back home. Yes, my parents who needed a romantic week to themselves which was long over do.
I was confident that my parents were fine, knowing that they were staying outside of the city and would have cleared the city by the time the violence broke out. The difficult part for me was that something that happened on the other side of the world was now that much closer to our family. We could no longer claim that we were safe here in the United States. We were reminded that we live in a small world where even things on the other side of the world affect us.
The biggest challenge I faced was talking to my kids. As people called to make sure I had heard from my parents, my kids were overhearing the conversations. When I realized my kids heard me talking about their Grandma and Grandpa I decided to talk to them about what happened in Paris.
How do you explain to a 7 and 3 year old that there are bad people in the world that want to hurt others, with out scaring them too much?!? I remember the look on their faces as their young innocence struggled to understand what I was saying. Finally, I came to the point of saying, “We don’t have to be afraid because we know someone who is stronger and bigger than the bad people in the world.” My boys responded, “Yes! God is the strongest person in the whole world!” I replied, “Yes and He was protecting your Grandma and Grandpa.”
My 3 year old looked at me with a puzzled look on his handsome little face,
“Mommy, What about the other people that died?!?”
My heart broke. These are the questions that are not just difficult for 3 year old boys, but for grown ups too.
I am sure that the violence that happens around the world is not part of God’s plan! But I am also sure that God can use even horrible things to bring people to His LOVE! This is what I want my children to put their faith in!
How do you talk to your children about these tough issues? Comment below if you are willing to share your pointers. Thanks!