How Can we Help Kids Handle Differing Views?
It’s inevitable that we are going to have differing views from the people we will meet in this life. Just ask your kiddos about conversations they’ve had in their school cafeteria or playground! Natalie points us to truth for us to guide our kids in loving people well even when we see things differently.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:3-6
Children start engaging in conversations where they don’t see eye to eye with someone else as soon as they can communicate, and it is important that we instill biblical views of handling differing views well at a young age.
What if we trained and equipped our kids to handle difficult conversations around opposing views? What if they learned the benefit of confrontation rather than shying away from it?
Let’s look at a few perspectives on confrontation that we could instill in our kids.
- If we want to be able to share our views, then we must also be willing to listen to differing views. Our kids need to know that confrontation should go hand in hand with listening. Sharing our personal views and convictions is important, but we must also listen and give others the opportunity to do the same. Listening is a powerful tool amid challenging conversations. Let us remember and teach the truth in James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”.
- Speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). As followers of Christ we’re called, even when we disagree with someone or need to confront someone, to speak with words that are “full of grace , seasoned with salt”. Our intention in addressing them should still be to love them. If we can encourage our kiddos to speak truth in love, then I believe they will walk in fullness of relationship with others and it will not allow for roots of bitterness to be formed. This will greatly benefit them as they get older and as hard conversations sometimes feel a little bit more intense.
- Always remember to live in peace. “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:14-15 While engaging in difficult conversations, it is important to remember that the goal should always be peace. We should not enter conversations with the purpose of making a point or being “right”, rather to seek understanding and listen so we can live in peace. Even if at the end of the day people still disagree, I believe we can still maintain peace and as a result “keep the unity of the Spirit”.
We do not need to flee from hard conversations, nor do we need to teach our kids to flee from them either. There is immense growth that can happen when we learn to engage in confrontation surrounding differing views. This is not always an easy process, but I love that peace is still available to us. Listen. Love. Live in peace.
Have you had any recent hard conversations or confrontation with friends? How did those conversations go? Do you feel like you aimed for peace amid those conversations?