Christian parents need to be prepared, more than ever, to discuss this difficult topic with our children.
Where I live in Nashville, it has been a dark time of unspeakable tragedy. Six lives were lost: three wonderful children and three amazing adults.
Nashville is a very small big town. We’re all connected, one way or another—which means we’ve all been impacted by the lives and the loss of all six of these individuals. I personally knew one of the victims, Katherine Koonce; and for the rest of my life, I will feel the loss of the brilliance, strength, kindness, and humor she brought to our community.
As a therapist, I’ve sat with thousands of families in 30 years of counseling children. I know the heartache and panic that comes with trying to walk kids through trauma. So when I first heard of the shooting, my first thought was that we should never have to have these conversations with anyone, let alone kids.
But as I have had the immense, heart-wrenching privilege of spending time with the Covenant families—both in the reunification center and in a meeting for the parents and teachers—I realized they wanted help in knowing how to talk to their kids about what feels unspeakable.
How can parents navigate telling their kids about what happened, both here in Nashville and at other schools across the nation?
First, stay calm as you are talking with your kids. They need to feel like you are a safe place to ask questions and process their feelings.
Second, try to be the primary source of information for your kids. They need to hear about the situation not just factually but also age-appropriately.
Third, let them lead the conversation and ask the questions. Children have the innate ability to ask for the information they need.
Fourth, ask them what feelings they are experiencing, and give them space to …