Now Playing: “Life”, Rated PG-13
Is it just me or has public discourse gone from PG to PG-13 in the last year?
Same-sex marriage. Transgender bathroom choice. Police killing African-Americans. Americans killing police. Scary clown terrorists targeting schools. And now, “locker room banter.” The news is getting extremely difficult to explain to an eight-year-old! I find myself wishing we could talk about an easier subject—like puberty!
“Just turn the news off,” I can hear someone saying. I would, if I had it on! We don’t have network or cable television, no Time or Newsweek—just a weekend edition of the local newspaper. Even so, people talk. I learned about the scary clown terrorists from my son and people at my church!
Like many home schooling parents, I want to protect my kids, but not raise them under a log! I want them aware of and appropriately engaged in current events. How do we clue in our curious kids without alarming them?
Gauge the Reaction
Each child is different, and so the best advice I can give is to be sensitive to the audience. Answers to some questions won’t be appropriate for a group of mixed-aged siblings. Some explanations won’t be appropriate for siblings with mixed temperaments and sensitivities to frightening or disconcerting things.
That’s all. I’m out of advice. Did you think I wrote this blog because I have the answers? No, I wrote it because I have the questions! Here’s what others advise:
Don’t Overdo It
PBS Parents says we should start by finding out what our kids know already. Sometimes it’s possible to address their immediate questions without digging into the tough stuff.
When my son asked, “What’s sexism?”, he was content with a simple answer: each gender thinking theirs is superior. If he had been asking why some people are saying we should repeal the 19th Amendment, that would have opened up a new discussion!
Teach Values, Not Judgment
In a Christianity Today article, “How to Talk to Your Children about Homosexuality,” Corrie Cutrer entreats parents to bind convicting truth with compelling love. How parents answer—the words we use, the tones of our voices, the expressions on our faces—are pivotal in forming young attitudes not only about the subject at hand, but about the precious souls we implicate as well.
Find God at Work
When Mr. Rogers (the one with the neighborhood) saw scary stuff in the news as a boy, his mother would say, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Good point, Mrs. Rogers. In fact, society wouldn’t hold up if we good folk didn’t outnumber the crazies—although it seems we can feel that balance shifting under our feet.
Finally, how we respond to current events reveals much about our trust in the sovereignty of God. In the article Helping Children Deal with Tragedy, the author reminds us, “It is the job of parents to frame the picture of world events, to help children understand life from God’s point of view.”
We can’t censor life for our kids forever, so we should seek out God’s point of view on current events in order to be ready when the hard conversations happen.
THSC has worked with home schoolers for decades. We’ve seen families who care deeply about their children’s education push through hard times and end up with successful, well-adjusted adults. You’ve got this!
Keeping Texas Families Free is our priority so you can be the primary influencer in times such as these. You can rest assured, THSC will stand by its members to continue supporting home school families. Are you a part of the Coalition? Join today!