Unrest in the world is a constant reality, though in our country perhaps the fewest people felt it, especially in the older-middle generations. But it existed for the early Israelites, the early Christians, and for countless people in the Middle East, Africa, and other various large and small countries today. It's hard to know the exact correct response when we don't have something to draw on that relates to it.
As parents, we need to help our children grow confidently in the world,but knowing the realities as well. A hard part is knowing how much to share and at what age. As teens, my boys want to know everything now, so we share more than before, but still try to shield them from the "maybe's" that could raise anxiety. Often they hear them anyway from others, and then we have that discussion, but any chance to reduce their concerns about the world is a good thing.
An antidote to the concerns, my favorite phrase is that "God is in charge, He has a Plan." We don't know the big picture, but God does, He loves, and we're just to focus on today and doing what we should do in this moment. He has known everything since before Creation - could I do better than Him in taking care of a situation - especially one bigger than anything I can do. He is, however, a great Listener and Mover, and He asks us to bring our concerns to Him then let Him answer them in the way He knows is best. Then comes the hardest part - letting go of fear and concern and trusting whatever God has Planned. I try to do this out loud - vocally turning things over to God and then trying to speak casually about the minor things of life. It's not always easy!
However, it should be easy. It should be natural, IF we believe the faith we claim. Since Creation God has been a part of our history, knowing its beginning and end and everything in between "long before" Creation occurred. We might fear the suffering we'll incur, like dreading a vaccination shot, but we know that everything WILL be all right. Not necessarily in this life, but we are never alone in what happens in this life.
That can seem like small comfort if we are not close to God, if we can't hear His whispers of comfort or recognize the God-incidences that reveal His Presence and action in our lives. However, seeing the little miracles happening around us are incredibly uplifting, encouraging, and strengthening. They can be the difference between despair and hope, yielding and enduring. Knowing God and His unending Plan for our happiness versus feeling utterly alone and temporary- this changes our worldview, our personality, and our life choices.
Hug your children tight and remind them that Hope for goodness is real and we know it through prayer and paying attention. There is nothing bad that God can't outdo with good. Help them know He is real and they will learn the peace of confidence in Christ - and in this is true happiness found.
-- Linda Bader, Coordinator of Religious Education
P.S. Did you know... St. Francis of Assisi is well known for interactions with animals, but did you know these details... Although his burial site was revered - he was canonized within 2 years - his body was lost for almost 6 centuries, having been hidden to protect it from desecration by invaders. He was a prisoner of war for during his years as a soldier, but after he was freed, he had a conversion, and ended his first year of religious life with 11 followers - thus being a band of 12. His order was approved because the Pope had a dream! St. Francis prayed for miracles to stop at a grave because all of the visitors became a disruption - and they did stop!