I don't know how you are when it comes to informing your children about current events but I am one of those parents who feels strongly that my kids don't need to know about everything going on. I don't think young children should be burdened by current events. We don't allow them to watch the news and even do not watch videos of news clips in their presence. We skim the surface with regard to the police shootings and racial tensions. We shelter them from news stories involving violence. We make them aware that terrorists exist and why they want to cause harm but again, we leave out the gory details. And even in this volatile election season, we keep the information to a minimum; they know who is running and we talk about the election process but that's about the extent of it. I intentionally do this because I remember how I was as a child. I scared very easily and to this day I have a very active imagination. I don't need any help being afraid of evil. My mind conjures up scenarios perfectly fine on it's own! I guard myself against the news and truly don't spend a lot of time reading it. I ask my husband to tell me what I need to know because I absolutely WILL lose sleep if I have too much information. As a child the worst time of year for me was Halloween. Everything about Halloween creeps me out. I just don't like it, I never have. It was also my mom's favorite holiday so our house was always decked out with scary faces and a fake cemetery and to her credit, she did an amazing job decorating...which is why I was so successfully frightened. I remember not wanting to get up in the night to use the bathroom because some of the decorations scared me so much!
Getting back to my kids. Clearly stories that children hear become exaggerated. In my research I never came across any credible report that supported the idea that clowns were murdering children, which is what a student on the bus told my son. I made sure to tell my son with much confidence, these were made up stories. Before I did that though I took the opportunity to talk to him about fear and what God's Word tells us. Since I struggle with fear, I have verses that I turn to and that help me put my fears to rest. I shared with my son my own struggle with fear and reminded him that God is with him no matter where he is. I pray every day when my children walk out of the house that God would put a hedge of protection around them and keep evil away. Every night when I go to bed I pray that God would put a hedge of protection around us and keep evil away. I have learned to have confidence in God to answer that prayer. This is not to say that God will never allow anything bad to happen because of my prayers. I just know that IF something bad does happen it is all in God's control and part of His perfect plan and I don't have to fear what man can do to me. Which leads me to the verse that I shared with my son and which helps me:
Unfortunately we live in a society where children have access to just about any news story they want. They own tablets and phones that allow them to search the internet and learn about every horrible thing that is going on. The sad part is that so much of what we read on the internet is either not true or grossly misleading and our young children do not have the discernment necessary to identify the truth from the fiction. I also feel we live in a society where adults want children to grow up much faster than they should. I understand that there will be some reading this that disagree with me, and I do respect that. For our family though, we have decided that it is in their best interest to shelter them from many of the issues facing our world, at least until they have the maturity to handle the information and we have had the time to lay a foundation, based on God's word, so that they can wisely handle the information. Sometimes, because they go to school and they hear what other kids are talking about, they are made aware of things I wish they wouldn't and that is something we need to leave in God's hands. As parents, we have to be ready to answer our children's questions and so when they come home asking about clowns, we do our due diligence but always bring it back to God's word...what does God's word say to help us understand how to handle this information or help put our fears to rest. Always, always it comes back to God and His Word. Parents, don't forget what we are told in Romans 16:19:
For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
We have a responsibility to keep our children innocent to evil. There will come a time when they need to know certain things and it is our responsibility to determine when that time is. Let's just be careful to not rush their childhood. Children today are under an incredible amount of stress; we see it all the time and it's sad. I have a hard time not being afraid of things I hear about and I am an adult who has some wisdom and some discernment to be able to process the information and bring it back to God and His Word. Imagine how a child feels when they hear some of these scary things but have a limited ability to process that information; many children also have limited resources at home to help them process the information!
The reality is that there is a lot to be concerned about and even fear in this world but I don't believe our children need to carry the weight of that burden. That's our job as parents, that and to protect our kids as much as we can from harmful information that is just too readily accessible to them. I am thankful I have a God that is faithful and trustworthy to lean on in times of trouble, fear and uncertainty. I am thankful for the many reminders in His Word to not fear but to have faith and confidence in God that He is FOR us and is in control... that's the story we need to be sharing with our children!