The Parent Blog

How do I explain this to my children?

Recently, we did a lesson with our kids and youth at The Meeting House about trust and fear. We talked about the things that they were afraid of. Sadly, the majority of Jr. High students included “Trump” or the “US election” in the list of things they were afraid of. This wasn’t something we prompted, as Anabaptists, politics are a conversation we keep to the periphery. But the kids bringing this into the conversation is no surprise; the election used fear as a platform to urge people to take action.

This morning, I woke up to the fact that a Trump presidency is a reality. One of the things that these Jr. High students feared most had come to pass.

I took my daughter to school, and as we walked through the schoolyard, I heard several sound bites of kids’ conversations. The theme was consistent: fear, worry, and anxiety. From school children. Let that sink in.

I heard kids say:

  • “Yeah, a wall. He said he’d build it.”
  • “He said they are going to be kicked out.”
  • “He doesn’t like people like us.”
  • “He did bad things to women.”

This morning, I also read an article that focused in on Van Jones, American political activist/commentator/lawyer, asking the question: “How do I explain this to my children?”

I don’t know if there is any explaining we have to do for our children. I think they see exactly what we see, and feel exactly what we feel: it’s inexplicable, and sad, and we are as confused as they are. They need to process and be heard.

In the midst of that processing – our own and our children’s – we need to ask ourselves some important questions as Jesus-followers:

  • What do we fear? Who are we afraid for?
  • Where does our trust really lie?
  • How does a different President (or Prime Minister or King/Queen or Ruler) change how you act on a day-to-day basis?
  • What injustices do you see that you can stand in the gap for?

So, instead of “how do I explain this to my children?” I think the question should be: “How can I encourage my child to follow in the way of Jesus so closely that they can light up the world?”

I think we need to encourage our kids to really follow in the way of Jesus: to love our neighbour more fully; to love the ‘other’ more completely; to love our enemies with big other-centred, counter-cultural love; to join in the suffering of those who suffer; to mourn alongside those who mourn; and we need to show our kids what it really looks like to take up our cross daily.

An election of this magnitude may feel big, it may feel overwhelming, and it may feel like the earth is unstable beneath our feet. But we can be reminded that:

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea…”

​We will be still and know that he is God. We will remember that we are light-bearers in the world. We will remember that we are called to love, love, and love.

Shane Claiborne recently wrote, “…we vote every day. We vote with our lives. We vote with our budgets. We vote with our voices…So let us vote — for the poor. Vote for the oppressed. For the marginalized and the displaced.”

I’ll be voting tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after.

Vote with me.

~Natalie Frisk is Curriculum Pastor at The Meeting House. She is married to Sam, mom to Erin, and child of God.


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