This weekend a topic came up with my seven year old that I never imagined we would be discussing. Like most major topics in parenting I found I was terribly unprepared.
This past week a student in our community lost his battle with depression and he committed suicide. This child by all accounts was well loved. He played lacrosse and football. This left so many with questions and if onlys.
This tragedy has been heartbreaking and as my child so innocently wants answers that I myself struggle to understand I can only turn us both to the one who gives hope.
I told her I would answer her questions as best I could. I told her the truth. I didn’t give details. I simply explained that sometimes people can be sad and feel so sad or hurt and not be able to see a way to make that sadness or hurt stop. They don’t always know how to tell someone.
I then told her what she needed to hear from me the most that I love her and that nothing she does will make me stop loving her. That no matter how bad anything ever seems or how much trouble she thinks she will be in I am on her side and we will figure it out together.
I reminded her that she always has hope because God loves her even more than I ever could. That no matter how bad things are we can pray together. That God is good and faithful. He will see her through.
But it isn’t enough to tell her this once. I know that I have to tell her this over and over again. I have to really mean these words. I have to model these words. If I say I will love her no matter what she needs to believe that. I have to prove that to her.
If I tell her God is good and faithful she will only believe that by watching my faith. How do I handle struggles and anxiety? What do I do when I have a crisis? Do I turn to God?
Our kids are watching and listening to how we deal with our own struggles. It is time to stop hiding them but instead owning them and coping with them so our kids can learn how to cope with theirs too. Lets be real and honest. Lets let them see yes this is where we are struggling but this is how we handle it.
God is good and he is faithful. If I do nothing else but teach my children that I will have done enough. That will carry them through.