Dealing With Children & Tragedy

Empty-ClassroomThe new Central Youth Network rolled out Friday amidst news of the terrible tragedy at that Connecticut elementary school. This sort of shocking occurrence definitely under girds our reasons for being here and for doing what we do. We’re sure that you feel the same weight of responsibility and burden of love. Young people are already in such vulnerable places as they attempt to navigate uncertain social interactions, often-failing educational systems, family life, and the internal search for identity. Tragedy and loss understandably tangle the already complicated paths they navigate. So how can we, as leaders, priests, and parents walk with our young people through these days of darkness?

Times like these remind us all of our need for a hope that is outside of ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 15:19, the Apostle Paul makes the bold statement that, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” We, who have experienced the power and presence of the risen Christ, know the truth of his claim. The Gospel offers hope for salvation that extends from this moment and on into eternity. Yet, what does embracing that hope offered us in this life look like in the face of such an awful event?

Respond:

  • Have you already had conversations with any of your young people regarding this event, or other recent ones like it?
  • How can we offer an answer to those who ask why God would allow things like this to happen?
  • If good and evil are so often two sides of the same coin, how can we explore the goodness of humanity expressed in the outpouring of love and support from around the world, without appearing to patronize the hurt and pain suffered by so many?

Join the conversation and share your thoughts or prayers. Lord, have mercy on us all as we seek to be agents of healing in this sin-sick world.

  • Xavier Montenegro

    Frankly, my first reaction when I heard about this shooting on Friday was anger. “How could this happen again? Should we be doing more to prevent this kind of violence? This is getting ridiculous.” I guess there is a weariness inside of me when tragedies like this happen. I’m tired of seeing people suffer and loved ones get taken away needlessly. I also thought about my kids. My son is 7. It would be unimaginable for me to lose him at such a young age and in such a manner that the people in Newtown lost their children. My heart aches for the families and the community. Long after the cameras are gone, the hurt will remain. Only God can bring the true peace and healing those families need right now. I think it’s good to have age appropriate conversations with your children about what happened and about the nature of sin and evil. Surely with teens and young adults deeper questions about God might result. Why would he allow this to happen? If he is so good why is there evil? Does God really care? Those are important questions with which to wrestle because all of us will face death at one point or another. In the end, there are no easier answers. It’s too simplistic to say all we need is more of God in this country or all we need is more gun control. We often like to run to one side or the other because it’s the easy thing to do, but maybe we need to stay in the middle, where it’s dirty, messy, and where answers are not easily forthcoming. A place where finding a solution will cause us to examine what we believe and why. A place that is above our political loyalties. What I don’t think helps is running to our familiar battle lines and waging war with the other side.