We have never been ones to hide things from our children. In fact, at times I fear that we have been brutally honest. We were just determined early on to allow our children to see that we don't live in fairytale land. It's worked out pretty well so far, because our children accept negative things as a part of life and know that they must move on, and they also don't judge others when bad things happen.
This week we were faced with a biggie. Two people that our children know and have trusted did some really bad things. Their clean-cut image was shattered, and they were hauled away to jail. My first instinct was to blab it all to them, but then my questionable mind took over. I started thinking that maybe this was just too much. I had to discuss it with my husband. We decided to share only a portion of what we knew.
Unfortunately, they had already heard the rumors. It doesn't take long for word to get around about something bad. People seem to thrive on negative things, like somehow it feeds them and makes them feel better about their own lives. The news media had a field day, giving details of a sordid story of two people that the public trusted, corrupting our local children. My own children were even kind of shocked, and it takes a lot to shock them. They ended up knowing too much in my opinion, but most of that was out of our control.
I finished our conversation feeling dirty just for talking about it. We tried to handle it in a way that was honorable, and we reminded our children that we need to pray for the families of these people. One of the children is in one of my girl's class. She said yesterday that the little girl cried all day and she could hear children whispering. That poor, sweet little innocent victim. Shame on her parent for being so irresponsible. I told my daughter that the Bible says we shouldn't gossip, and I told her to pray for her little friend. The media left too many people knowing way too much without any consideration for those sweet little victims.
My heart is broken for one of the other children of one of the criminals. I became her friend last year. She was going through a lot, and we talked regularly. She is at a different school now, and I wonder how she's doing. I dreamed about her last night. It breaks my heart to think of the pain she is going through. Is anyone comforting her? Those sweet little children.
I don't know how much we are supposed to share with our children. I know parents that keep their children in the dark about everything. These are the children that I picture growing up and falling apart the first time something negative happens in their lives. They are also the ones I believe become easily embittered, wondering "why me?" They expect too much and certainly won't get it. That is a sad state of existence. On the other hand, the ones that are told too much, well, I'm not sure if it's a bad thing in the long run. As long as we as parents mold it within our beliefs, teaching them each time something comes up. When they grow up, hopefully they will say, "Wow, this is what mom and dad were talking about." They will hit a brick wall, back up, and turn another direction. They will reach the end of a rope, and forget tying a knot.... They will just reach for another rope and keep climbing.
The world stinks. It's rough out there. Kids endure a lot. Adults make stupid choices. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. In my opinion, it is good to share with my children these facts. In the end, what they learn is that there is only One perfect, and He is Jesus. It helps them to see their need for Him and the world's need for Him. It makes them realize that joy comes from Him, and they see that joy is ever-present even in the midst of all of these horrendous circumstances for those who know Him. Teachable moments. They are God moments. How much is too much? As long as they know that nothing is too much for Him, then everything is alright with me.