Can Kids Handle Hard Truth?
Pandemic, protests, and politics…how much and what is good to share with our kids about these and other tricky parts of our world today? Ashton points us to Christ’s example in leading others in truth and grace.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15
As the famous line from A Few Good Men goes, “You can’t handle the truth!!” When it comes to kids, do we feel like we can’t tell them the truth about a situation or how we’re feeling because we believe they can’t handle it?
Can kids grow and mature in their faith by us being honest with them? How do we determine what’s good for a child to know versus sugar coating it and/or leaving some parts out?
I think there can be a lot said about what type of leader Jesus was and how it can help us answer some of these questions.
- Vulnerability: We can look at the life of Christ and determine what kind of leader He was for His disciples. Jesus didn’t try to put on a brave face in front of His followers. He wept (John 11:35), was exhausted (Mark 6:31), got angry (Matt. 23:33), felt agony (Matt. 26:42), and empathized with people’s pain (John 11:33). Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with our kids, no matter the situation, can strengthen our relationship.
- Speaking Truth: Have you ever been upset and someone asked you, “What’s wrong?” and you simply reply by saying “nothing.” Unfortunately, I do this too frequently. When I choose to not answer how I’m really feeling, it normally comes from a place of pride or not wanting to burden the other person. I can remember growing up and getting the same response from my parents when I could clearly see them struggling. I felt their lack of response as a lack of trust in me. What happened as a result is I would reply the same way to them without even noticing.
- Spiritual Growth: We love to experience people being vulnerable, but on the other hand, we fear it for ourselves. Should we choose between being raw versus only sharing what is on the surface level? A common thought is if we show our emotions it’s a sign of weakness. We can be encouraged by Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses…” Jesus who was perfect in everyway can meet us right where we are with full empathy.
As someone who your kids look up to and rely on everyday start with being vulnerable with them. Remove some of the masks of our hearts we tend to put on to look like we have it all together. When they see our transparency, they’ll imitate it themselves in the relationship.
Building a relationship with the foundation of honesty and truth will have a longer, positive impact. Kids can be a lot stronger than we may give them credit for; let’s share the truth with them and allow God to meet them right where they are and prove Himself faithful in their lives.
I’m going to challenge you to answer a question you probably hear often, “How was your day?” Avoid the urge to give one-word answers or just say, “good,” even though you had a bad day. Tell them what you did, if you struggled with a friend or a project, don’t sugar coat your answer. Learn to be vulnerable with your parents because they’re the ones who care about your well being the most. Also, in return ask your parents the same question!