What do you tell children who are afraid of what is happening in the News?
When children hear about a gunman shooting police officers or a bomb blowing up people in the mall on the news report, their mind and heart are overwhelmed. The fear that gets into their psyche produces anxiety which may come out in nightmares, abnormal timidity, or negative behavior.
What can a mother say? Number one, don’t put the child down with some quick remark like “that’s foolish” or “you shouldn’t think that way.” How much better to listen, ask questions, and give the child a chance to express what is in their heart.
Can you be honest enough to say that sometimes you get scared too when you hear these things? Let the child know that it isn’t uncommon for even big people to have these feelings. When someone understands, it opens the door to hope that maybe things will be okay.
Love is greater than fear, so take the opportunity to hug the child and let the young person know that you love him (her) so much. And how much more is God’s love for each one of us? What a powerful time to pray together asking Jesus to get rid of those bad fears with His perfect love, and to protect our family from all the evil in the world. Encourage the child to say his own prayer asking Jesus to help him.
If the child is old enough to understand, this may be an open door to explain about sin, which leads to evil, and that is why Jesus died on the cross, to pay the price for all evil. Sometimes when things go wrong, people realize they need Jesus’ help. God wants every person to come to Him. Besides what Jesus did 2000 years ago when He became man, someday, Jesus is going to come again and make everything right. Then there will be no more evil, or crying, or death.
Often the evening news only tells us about the bad things that are happening, but God is doing a lot of good things too. For example, the news reports all the trouble in Syria, Iraq, and in the Middle East where there are a lot of Muslim terrorists. But on the other hand, consider how God is opening hearts to turn to Jesus. “From 1960 to 2010, the number of Muslims that have converted to faith in Jesus Christ has grown from fewer than 200,000 to some 10 million people”1(Joel Rosenberg) Ten million people brought into the kingdom of God forever is so much greater than the trouble.
The child who is afraid needs our comfort and help to restore hope that his world is not falling apart. The truth is that it does look that way many times, but we also know God is greater and He has a plan to put an end to all evil. Jesus rose from the dead and overcame all sin. He will come again and make all things new. Come, Lord Jesus!