Helping Kids Deal with Fear

12 12 2012

Hurricane Sandy

    Hurricane Sandy

The shooting in an Oregon mall yesterday may have scared your child. How can we help children deal with fear? Especially when we don’t understand how it could happen. Especially when our own sense of security is rattled.

I learned a powerful lesson about helping children cope with anxiety while teaching second graders.

One fall, I had a student who sometimes seemed reluctant to go out to recess. The Lord helped me notice a pattern. He resisted going outside only on cloudy days.  To confirm my suspicions, I took him in the hall.

“Are you afraid to go outside?”

His eyes got as big as saucers. With sheer terror written all over his face he reported, “Yes. It’s because one day in after-school care we had to run quickly inside before a huge storm got us!”

That experience gave him a phobia of going outside on a cloudy day.

I reassured him saying, “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. I believe God will take away that fear by Christmas. So, I want you bring in a change of clothes. I’ll also bring in a change of clothes. When you tell me the Lord has removed your fear, we will celebrate by walking together in the rain.”

God honored my words spoken by faith. He removed the boy’s fear. One day—before Christmas—we rejoiced in God’s faithfulness by walking together in the rain.

That same God can remove  your child’s fear. And replace it with His perfect peace.

Kids worry about lots of things. One day, I asked my second graders what they wanted to talk to God about—to say what worries them.  Here were some of their responses:

  • I worry about fire (in my house, at night, etc.)
  • I worry about a burglar or robber breaking into my house (that he might steal me).
  • I’m worried I might break a bone.
  • I worry about noises.
  • I get worried about if someone gets sick. I get scared that they will get so sick that they will die.
  • What I worry about is fires, my mom getting cut, burglars, bullies, sickness that makes people die, heart attacks, guns, noises, and darkness.
  • I am worried that someone might get shot, get stabbed with a sword or just die.  I am so worried about that.  I’m also worried about someone taking me at night time. I’m worried about my family getting hurt like in a fire.  A bad dream is definitely one of the most scariest things of all.
  • I’m worried about people fighting in Iraq like my brother.
  • I’m worried about bullies.
  • I’m worried about my fish dying.  All the other fish died and most of them were babies.
  • I am worried that I will get the spirit of fear.

God honors the Truth we invest in our children. Calm your child’s fears with verses like:

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you.”   Jeremiah 29:12

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Isaiah 26:3

What does your child worry about? How do you calm his/her fears?

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What’s so exciting about Christmas?

18 12 2011

Knock, knock, knock.

The loud knocking interrupted the Bible instruction. The startled campers were learning about Jesus. I ignored the knocking, for good reason. The children all had intellectual disabilities. The visitor was part of the lesson, arranged ahead of time by me.

The knocking continued.

“Who is it?” I called through the door.

“Miss Barbara.”

Turning to the students, I reported matter-of-factly, “It’s Miss Barbara.”

KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK pounded Barbara.

Calling through the door I asked, “What do you want?”

“I want to come in.”

Returning to my seat, I resumed the lesson.

The campers looked bewildered.

“What’s wrong? Is something the matter?” I asked.

“Miss Barbara.”

“Yes, Miss Barbara is at the door.”

KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. “Please let me in,” pleaded Barbara.

This time I remained in my seat.

The campers begged me to let her in.

Barbara’s cries became more emphatic. She started shouting, “I – want – to – come – in – now!!!”

The campers yelled, “Open the door!”

Refusing their requests, I explained my reason for ignoring her pleas.

“Why should I open the door? We don’t need to let her in. We know all about her. She lives up on the hill. She has short hair and a very nice smile. She sings our special song before meals.”

“But she wants to come in,” explained one camper.

“Yeah, and we want her to be with us. Let her in.” urged another boy.

They became adamant and shouted, “Open the door! Let – her – in!”

Finally, I relented. Once the door was opened, the children engulfed Miss Barbara like a coat. Clinging to her.

It was time to explain the object lesson.

“You know all about Miss Barbara. But that wasn’t enough. You wanted to spend time with her. She wanted to join us. It seemed very wrong of me not to let her in. Friends want to spend time with each other.

“That’s how it is with Jesus. You know a lot about Jesus. But that’s not enough. Knowing about Him isn’t as special as knowing Him as your special Friend. Friends spend time with one another. Friends do nice things for each other. Jesus loved you so much He died so you could go to heaven someday. You can spend time with Him, just like you can with Miss Barbara. You can talk to Him.

“Let Him come into your heart. Let Him be a part of your life. That’s so much better than just knowing about Him.”

*******

Christmas commemorates the birth of Christ. Historians will acknowledge that fact. The true celebration swells in the hearts of those who know Him – who have a relationship with Him.

Jesus stands at the door and knocks. How He longs for us to welcome Him into our lives! How He wants to fellowship with us!

He waits for each blood-bought soul to receive His gift of eternal life. Knowing the facts of His life pales in comparison to knowing Him in a personal way. Having a relationship with Him throughout the year enriches our celebration of His birth.

Jesus entered this world. The thought of God sending His only Son to die for my sin – my sin – is awesome to contemplate. The deeper my relationship is with Christ, the more Christmas means to me. God’s only Son left heaven to die for my sin, stepped into my life and fellowships with me. That thrills my heart.

What’s so exciting about Christmas? He did that for everyone. No wonder all the angels rejoiced.

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’”  Luke 2:13-14





Spending time with the ultimate BFF

11 12 2011

Nowadays, people make promises to be a best friend forever. We have good intentions to be a true friend to someone. We hope special friendships will never end. In spite of our good intentions, relationships have difficulties at times. Sadly, sometimes friendships end. They aren’t always forever.

There is One Friend who will truly be a friend forever. A trusted Friend. One we can have forever – past this life.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read a devotional I wrote (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).  This recent devotional is entitled, “When We Encounter Barriers Remember There Are None Surrounding God”

Many of us wish the weeks leading up to Christmas weren’t so busy. We want to spend more time reflecting on the true meaning of the holiday.

How do you find time to focus on the story of Christ’s birth?





Christmas won’t be the same.

7 12 2011

Will this Christmas be different this year? Will it be your choice? Are circumstances forcing you to rethink what the holiday will be like?

My multiple sclerosis helps me keep a focus on the real meaning of Christmas. Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read a devotional I wrote (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).  This recent devotional is entitled, “Enter Illness, Exit Christmas?”

There seems to be so many who are suffering. When you consider the plight of others, do you feel ashamed to ask for help or prayer? Perhaps secretly inside you yearn for someone to reach out to you. You need an understanding friend, or a warm embrace. Jesus cares about each and every person.

How would you like others to pray for you?





Combating a Materialized Christmas

6 12 2011

When our sons 3 and 5 yrs. old people would ask them, “What do you want for Christmas?”

I found a way to teach them the Biblical meaning of the holiday and at the same time share God’s Word with unsuspecting strangers.

I taught them the entire Christmas passage in Luke. If young children can learn all the words to a song, they can learn Luke 2:8-14. Using lots of expression in my tone of voice coupled with hand motions, I taught our boys the passage.

When someone asked them, “What do you want for Christmas?” they responded, “Well that’s not what Christmas is all about.” They would go on to share the true meaning of Christmas by reciting the passage.  “And there were in the same country shepherds…”

Listen to our son, Bobby reciting that passage. He was 4 yrs. old at the time. Now he’s 29.

YouTube: Five year old recites Christmas passage

What do you do to help your children focus on the real meaning of Christmas?





Fighting Self-Pity

30 11 2011

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read a devotional I wrote (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).  This recent devotional is entitled, “The Battle Plan for When Life Gets Stinky.”