Family Ministry

advice, thoughts, and discussion

Why do people do bad things?

on December 17, 2012

There was a lot of talk between the kids in our eXclaim service. And some of it was about Christmas. Some of it was about friends and toys and exciting things that kids usually talk about. But, most of what I heard this morning from our Kindergarten-sixth graders was – Did you hear about what happened in Connecticut? My family knew someone there! Why do people do bad things?

Whoa! What a deep question, why do people do bad things…and what a difficult question to answer for kids without a huge explanation about higher Theological ideas like the problem of pain or the fall of man. How do we address these problems with our kids at church? How do we talk about the horrible things that can happen in our world? How do we talk about tragedy?

So, I thought I would take the time to give the 1, 2, 3 of talking tragedy with kids. I used our curriculum’s blog (252 basics) to find the tips. You can use these when you can’t find the words to say, or you can go over this strategy when you have a training for your ministry lay leaders:

1. Remember that the parents are the primary teachers for kids. And different parents may have chosen to handle the subject differently. One kid in your group might know all the details while another may only know generalities. We need to respect the choice parents have made for their family. Do not review details, or allow a kid to review details with the rest of the group.

2. We always want our groups to be safe environments for kids to process tough issues. If one kid seems to have more questions or have a need to talk, find a way to pull that child to the side and let him share his feelings, thoughts or concerns. Then suggest you both talk with his parents together.

3. Just like adults, kids have a desire to want to do something to help. Let them write letters encouraging the kids of Sandy Hook Elementary. Lead them in prayer for the families and the survivors.

Also, you can simply tell them that, God is good. He will work through all things, good or bad. He didn’t make the bad things happen because those people were bad or needed punishment. Even though God is Good and Powerful, there are still bad people in this world who do very bad things.

Help your kids to pray for those who have known tragedy intimately. Encourage them to talk to their parents, and that it’s alright to be scared. But, teach them to remember – “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4


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