How Can Parents Equip a Child Facing Loneliness?
Today we have the most opportunity ever to be virtually connected to so many people at any point, however loneliness was at the top of the list of struggles when our college staff was polled this summer. Kelli helps those of us who get to influence children with practical ways to equip them with practical truth regarding loneliness.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10
If you feel lonely, you are not alone. Ironic, isn’t it? It is reported that one out of five Americans suffer from loneliness. There is no doubt true relational interactions among one another have been replaced with interaction through social media, gaming and all the ways we keep tucked in the palm of our hands.
But how do we as parents help our children know how to define and combat loneliness?
- Alone is not lonely. In a society, where we can be “with someone” 24/7 … even if they are stuck in the device in our hand … it is important to remember that being alone is healthy and doesn’t always equal being lonely. Alone time offers sweet time to know our God and to know ourselves better. It is a time to build confidence to combat all the things we come up against … like loneliness.
- Provide a safe place. As parents, the best things we can give our children is a place to be free from comparison, condemnation and unexpressed expectations. In our homes, in our cars … wherever we are together. Let the time with your children be a place for them to be themselves, to process through things, to be known and be comfortable. As parents we can let them know they are never alone by simply being available to be with them.
- Look for the lonely. We can’t get hung up thinking of only ourselves when we are thinking of others. Chances are there is someone feeling just as lonely (if not more) where ever we are … let’s find them, sit with them, get to know them if even for a few moments. When we seek to solve someone else’s loneliness … we have solved two: ours and theirs.
Because God promises He is with us up to the Heavens and down to the depths, we as believers never have to be lonely. The world, however, tells us quite the opposite. Let’s remember that the number of likes, places we are going or calls we are receiving do not define us. Because the God of the Universe chooses to take up residence in our hearts, we are never alone. Let’s walk confidently … and share that truth with those who we see are lonely.
- Give an example of being alone and an example of being lonely.
- How is one better than the other?
- When are times you feel most lonely?
- What is a plan that we can make to help walk through those times?