First of all, pardon the title of this post. I'm aware that it's corny. ;)
Should we talk about it?Communication with our children is important, even when it might be a difficult topic...like trouble in the church. And by "church" I'm speaking generally, not of any specific denomination or group of people.
I've heard some parents say, "Oh, we never discuss church problems in front of our children," and I thought that must be the way it was supposed to be. But, as my husband and I got further down the road in our parenting journey, I realized that that is not always possible, nor is it the best solution.
We can't hide our heads in the sand; we know there are problems in the church world...in every part of it...because the church world is made up of humans and, in case you hadn't noticed, humans are problematic creatures. So, what do we do when these problems come to the attention of our oh, so impressionable little ones? In just a minute, I'll submit my own humble opinion. Of course, my children aren't grown so we have yet to discover if we are "doing it right" or not. I can only tell you that it's our desire to do the best job at parenting that we can, and to allow God to lead us in every area of parenting. We also appreciate the advice of those who are older and more experienced than we! So, here are my thoughts. I'd appreciate it if you'd share yours, too!
This is what we do, carefully and prayerfully.We do discuss these problems with our children. If it's a situation involving individuals, we don't dredge up every sordid detail and we try not to be too critical or judgemental. But we do answer their questions the best that we can, age-appropriately of course, and we try to show them through scripture and by relating personal experiences and the experiences of others who have been in similar situations how such matters should be dealt with...and we especially try to show how having a Christlike attitude is necessary no matter what. If my children hear something or notice something on their own, I don't want to hide it or gloss over it when they come to me with questions. Nor do I want to instantly pass judgement and criticize someone, especially if I don't know all of the facts. It's a fine line.
If an issue is being discussed/debated all around and my children know about it, I don't think it's fair to my children to brush them off. We should provide at least a simple explanation of what is going on and try to help them look at it through scriptural glasses. How will they learn to think biblically and logically about these things if we don't try to answer their questions now? If we simply tell them, "Oh, don't worry about it." Or, "You'll understand when you're older" it is frustrating and confusing to them.
They're smart little critters.Children, even at a very young age, notice more and understand more than we give them credit for. They deserve to have their questions answered. In some cases I think we as parents need to approach them about things that are going on even if they don't come to us on their own, if we know that they're aware and are thinking about it.
And that is my humble, very imperfect opinion. What is yours?