This is part 2 of the interview with Caleb from Sukofamily.org, author of What If… How to Kill Worry and Anxiety Before They Kill You about communicating tough realities with our children. If you missed last week, I urge you to go back and read his responses- they’re powerful!
Now let’s jump into the interview:
1. Do you think Americans are hurting their children by not talking to them about what is happening to others around the globe, why or why not? How can they talk with their kids about these events and yet shelter them? How can we provide stability and knowledge?
If you want your child to be thankful, compassionate and unselfish then “yes!” I mean let’s face it ,99% of the kids in America are blessed materially. I understand that there are other problems like abuse and I don’t want to down play that. However, I think it’s vital to give our children a sense of the global community, to know that if you have parents who live with you and you have a roof over your head and shoes on your feet then you’re doing better than millions of other kids out there!
I think parents need to do more than talk, they need to show. If possible take your kids to places where people are not as well off. Have them help in outreaches for orphans or the homeless. Take them on a short mission trip. Expose them to the needy and talk with them about ways they can help.
2. It seems to me that there are many Christians lulled into a false sense of security. In 2 Tim 3 we are told that, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” While not every Christian will be beheaded or imprisoned, those who long to live a godly life in Christ will face some sort of persecution. Do you think that by sheltering our kids from other Christian’s persecutions we are not preparing them for the potential realities they could face?
I think it’s a different perspective that we as parents need to have. Yes, we want to protect our children from unnecessary harm but ultimately that’s not our goal as parents. Ultimately, I want my children to be willing to risk all for the sake of righteousness. I want them be ready to sacrifice their comfort and safety for the sake of another’s, I want them to understand that living for Christ could be dangerous but in the end it’s worth it!
3. That’s inspiring, Caleb. It takes Spiritual Maturity in the parents to come to such a place as you and your wife are in order to raise kids with such a selfless mindset. Your maturity is being enhanced as daily you have to trust God to not only provide for you and your family, but also to keep you all safe from various forms of danger and death. Explain how the tragic events going on around your children are shaping who they are. Likewise, tell us how parents can be a positive influence during such difficult times.
I try not to underestimate the power my life and my wife’s life has on our children. They watch how we react to these events, they can sense when we are nervous, anxious or angry. I think our responses as parents have a huge impact. It’s hard to say exactly how these events are shaping them; it may be something that we will not clearly see in their lives until years later.
My advice to parents is to pay close attention to how you personally respond to tragedy and difficult situations, and then allow your children to look into your life. Talk it over with them; don’t be afraid to tell them that you don’t know what’s going to happen next but make sure they understand and that they see in you a strong faith that is unwavering regardless of the circumstances.
4. What advice do you have for adults who don’t like to face these realities? How can they prepare themselves and also communicate with their kids?
I don’t think anyone really likes to face the realities of war, death and disease! The only way I know how to prepare yourself is by daily stretching your faith and strengthening your relationship with Jesus! Also don’t avoid difficult tasks you feel God is calling you to do. There will always be trials in your life, face them with God at your side because each one is preparing you for something else God has in store.
Communicating with your kids has to be ongoing. Don’t wait for tragedy to hit. Start now and make it part of the daily routine. Discuss the events of our lives and of the world around them and help them to see it in light of God’s Word.
5. As we wrap up this interview I’m reminded of Esther 4:14, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" If you could go back to this summer, when you were still “safe” in America, would you make a different decision regarding returning to the Ukraine? Would you have stayed here in order to shelter your kids from what they are experiencing? Explain.
Absolutely not! In fact, I can’t really say I feel any safer at this point in American than I do in Ukraine. What people don’t realize is that “safe” is often much more a feeling then it is a reality. Most people take great physical risk every day just by driving to work! I’d just rather take that risk here in Ukraine, while preaching the Gospel and ministering to God’s people!
Thank you, Caleb, for taking the time to answer these tough and in-depth questions. I know your answers spoke volumes to me as a parent. I pray God continues to use you and your family and protect you all in the days to come.
Thanks for shining His light and being about His Kingdom.