Growing up I was fearful of roller coasters, bees, and thunderstorms.
Our children are growing up scared of being shot or blown up while at school, the movies, church or at an entertainment venue.
When I was young we used to practice tornado and fire drills at school.
Today, kids are taught to silently hide from gunmen under their desks during classroom lockdown drills.
It’s an unfair and disturbing world that we are raising our kids in today.
How do we raise kids to not be fearful walking out the door of their home?
How do we acknowledge the truth of painful events without frightening our kids?
Our family had a trip planned to Las Vegas over our school fall break. Little did we know that tragedy would strike the city just before we were to head there. Should we even still go? Staying in the safety of our own home feels like a better choice nowadays, doesn’t it?
But, we must help our kids to feel safe in an unsafe world by continuing to live life to the fullest.
Our family traveled to Las Vegas as planned because we want our kids to see that there is, and always will be, more beauty, than evil, in the world. We won’t hide or ignore the truth of the tragedy that occurred there, but we will certainly balance it with joy, love and laughter.
How do we talk to our kids about tragic events without making them fearful and scared in their daily lives?
I would much rather pad, protect, shelter and hide the pain and suffering in the world so that my children can live a carefree existence. The problem is that isn’t responsible, nor is it teaching our children truth when we ignore the suffering and heartache that innocent people have endured at the hands of evil.
We shouldn’t shelter our kids from the truth but introduce today’s painful realities age appropriately.
My friend, Ashley Barden, is a mother of three and was amongst the crowd enjoying the Route 91 Harvest Festival until the evening turned fatal on October 2. Luckily, she and her friends were among the fortunate ones to make it out of the venue alive.
Separated from her friends, Ashley ran out of the outdoor venue to an executive airport hanger where almost 60 people hid in a storage room until police released them around 2:30 in the morning. Shortly after she was able to fly home to Arizona and back to her children. What did Ashley tell her kids about her scary experience?
Not much. Fortunately, her kids are young (11, 6 and 3) and overall unaware of the magnitude of the tragedy that their mother was involved in…. for today. Ashley wants to raise fearless kids and is adamant that she will encourage herself and her trio to live life doing what they love.
We must not raise fearful kids, but faithful ones instead.
Our kids were uneasy to go stay in a high rise hotel on the Las Vegas strip understandably after what had just occurred. We talked about how God has us and that we can rest in Him. We must acknowledge that evil unfortunately exists but we cannot let fear override our faith. Our family drove by the site of the mass shooting so that we could see with our own eyes the area where the tragedy happened and answer any questions our kids had.
On our RV trip around the USA, we visited the site of the OKC bombing. Our kids have seen where President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas and they have visited the September 11 Memorials and Museums in NYC.
I wish evil and hatred weren’t a part of the world we live in, but unfortunately, they are. We have to wrap our head around the pain, talk about it age appropriately with our kids, honor those who’ve senselessly lost their lives and continue to pray for and help our hurting people together.
We must lead our kids from a fearless place so that they can feel secure to live the carefree childhood that they need and deserve. We must show children how to live faithful lives instead of fearful ones.
What can we do to help ourselves be safe the next time we, or our children, are in a large public venue? Ashley recommends that you know where your exit options are and have an escape plan in mind, God forbid something happens while you’re out living your life.
Learn more about the Route 91 Victims and how you can help and support their individual families here.