Today is a day that the news greeted us with another ineffable tragedy. 59 dead and more than 525 injured in an unimaginable mass shooting in Las Vegas. I’ve been thinking about how to talk about it with my own kids tonight, as it’s bound to come up.
- Let them talk about it. Your kids know, and it will make them sad and maybe a little insecure. They will wonder how evil can be so strong in a world made by a loving God. It’s OK to let them wander in their thoughts a bit. You can agree with them that it is indeed very sad.
- Point them to a loving God who protects and comforts. At some point, turn the conversation to God. When they inevitably ask why God could let this happen or maybe even why God would have done this, remind them that God is good. He doesn’t do things like this. It was never his intent that people would act like this. Let them know there aren’t a lot of firm answers to the question why, but God does invite us to trust him. Make sure to add that God offers peace to those who trust him. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3)
- Give them an action. Point your children to some actions. They can pray. You can point them to being kind, even when they’re upset. They can make a card–just send it to the hotel workers at Mandalay Bay. Mailing address for that–3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119.
- Leave it with God and go on. This is where we go play soccer or make dinner. We keep marching forward, and we have the chance to model for our kids how to pause and recognize it, but to move forward. We need to show our kids that this is how people who trust God with difficult circumstances move on.
It’s a good corrective to let your kids know that children don’t need to know all the details or watch the footage over and over. Turn the news off. Stop talking about it. Assure them that the authorities are handling all the details.
I wish this was the end of the horrible parade of tragedies in the world, but it’s not, and it’s your job and my job to show our children how to be strong in the face of hard things.