Used to be we often muted the news when the kids were in the room, but these days we don’t even turn it on. And our kids are in their 30s.
Oh, the kids can take it alright, it’s the grands and the little ones we worry about.
The world has become a 24/7 news cycle of screaming sirens, flashing lights, shootings, robberies and racial strife with police in the crosshairs, all of which is punctuated by the occasional Wal-Mart brawl.
In my hometown, we’ve had three amber alerts in two weeks, an 82-year-old man shot in his driveway and a mother who confessed to smothering her two children with her own hands.
We’ve grown numb.
We barely turn our heads when another teacher or coach is charged with molestation.
Fifteen years out from 9/11 and terrorism is not behind us; it is all around us.
And then there’s the political corruption—seemingly without end.
The cherry on top of this sundae is a growing narcissism screaming for attention, constantly beating the drum on the many ways we are all offended. College students, increasingly delicate, now require speech codes, safe spaces and trigger warnings.
The mob rule of Twitter or Facebook is the new court of justice. The standards of right and wrong that held us together for centuries seem to be crumbling.
So how do you raise kids in a world like this? In a world that some days feels like it is in a free fall?
You do it the same way generations before have done it. The same way others have leaned in to the winds of the unknown and the uncertain, upheaval, unrest, strife, tragedy and even war.
You start with the premise that (trigger warning) life isn’t easy.
Then you create a home that is a shelter in the storm, a place where family and friends can be comfortable, where conversation, creativity, thoughts and ideas are free to flourish.
You use that home as your children’s first school and understand that you are their first teacher. You teach the things you want them to know by modeling them yourself. If you don’t want your kids cowering in fear and lacking confidence, then you can’t cower in fear and lack confidence.
Introduce your children to heroes, both past and present, real-people heroes who have stood strong in the face of challenge and adversity. Then show your children how to stand—for things that are good and true and honorable.
And if you claim to hold the Christian faith, don’t just hold it, live it. Live those words about loving the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. A scholar friend says the word neighbor means nearest. Demonstrate how to love those nearest, in your families, schools, neighborhoods, work places, houses of worship and the businesses where you shop.
If you do even a few of these things, the clouds won’t seem so ominous. Nothing dispels the darkness like a few shafts of light.