My 4-year-old son walked into the room as my husband was looking at some of the photos of Hurricane Harvey. This was obviously not what we wanted, but it happened, as things sometimes do. Of course he had a million questions about weather, about the people, and about God. The question one that stuck with us was, "Daddy, why would God do that? Doesn't He love them?" My heart broke. We have always taught our kids that God loves and protects them, but this didn't look true to our 4-year-old in the face of Hurricane Harvey. We bumbled through the moment as best we could, reassuring our son of God's love, and then we spent time reflecting on how to fully convey this in future moments.
How do you explain a fallen world to someone so young? How do you explain that the God who can control everything sometimes allows things to happen? And it doesn't always mean punishment or anything we can fully explain this side of heaven. As an adult, I have to remind myself that even in this, God has a good plan--a plan where He is revealing Himself even in the tragedy. A plan where He is now reaching out through millions of people in love to help those devastated in Houston. A plan where He STILL is working all things for good for those who love Him.
As I've reflected about the mission here at Be the Hands and read about this tragedy, it seems it all comes down to 3 things: TALK, PRAY, and DO.
Start by having your child do the talking. What have they heard? What questions do they have?
Then let them learn from you--not the media. Answer their questions clearly and honestly but without unnecessary information that could trouble them. Remind them that God is with them and with the people in Houston, and that they are safe. We might not always understand why things happened, but we can trust in our God who is good and perfect.
Pray with your child for those who have lost their homes and loved ones. Pray for safety and shelter for all who need it in Houston and for resources to get to them quickly.
I fully believe that kids have an innate gift to love and pour out their hearts to help others. It's just in them. Yes, sometimes they have thoroughly self-centered moments (don't we all?!), but they also have a deep compassion for others in pain. They want to help!! So let's walk with them to do just that!
At this point, most organizations need monetary donations. Donations of things, such as diapers and food, are helpful but are more
Check out our other resources to help kids understand real world issues in our Be the Hands homeschool curriculum units.