The big news story this past week has been the Houston flood as a result of Hurricane Harvey. As a leader (or a parent) you may be wondering how to talk about this with your kids. If you live in or near Houston, your kids might personally be experiencing the ravages of the flood. What can you say? What can you do?
Here are some thoughts.
- Pray for Houston. Pray for those who have experienced great loss. Pray for the first responders and others who have tirelessly rescued people. Pray for those who are in physical pain. Pray for those who are organizing relief centers. Pray for the churches who are reaching out that they will be able to comfort physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- Openly discuss a difficult situation in age-appropriate language. Most kids are aware of what is happening. Give them opportunity to freely express what they’re thinking instead of assuming that if they don’t talk about it, they won’t think about it.Make sure they have the facts. (No sharks aren’t swimming around the streets of Houston.) And yes, sadly, there have been a few deaths.Talk about God’s promise in Genesis 9:11: I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.
- Remind your kids that because of sin, we live in a messed-up world. No, the flood is NOT punishment for an individual’s or a city’s or a nation’s sin (as some are saying). But sin has gotten God’s creation off-balance causing sickness, pain, death, … and disasters such as floods. Yet, God is sovereign and in control. He doesn’t promise a disaster-free world, but He does promise to be there for us and with us. He understands our pain. He understands our loss. His desire is to give us comfort and peace. (Joshua 1:9; John 14:26-27; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
- Find a place where kids can help. Kids can be generous. Money is needed more than anything. (Not your old clothes that you were planning to toss in the garbage anyhow.) Be smart about choosing your avenue of giving. Then, discuss what you can do as a club or a family and encourage your children to take part.
Talking to kids about something as catastrophic as the Houston flood can be difficult, but also be a time to model dependence on God and the peace that He promises us.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.