Engaging our Children on Social Issues

June 5, 2023

I didn’t even want to write this, mostly because I am still learning. The world is changing faster than I can keep up, and I am totally afraid that I’m going to offend somebody. 

Good start to a “dose of encouragement,” isn’t it?

When our children were little, we could pretty much curate the kind of issues that entered our home and the manner they entered our home. We could engage with them in a way that made us comfortable. It felt safe and good.

When our children entered public school, we did not have that same ability to curate, well, just about anything. Opportunities arose daily to discuss lots of things: having different teachers, friends from different backgrounds, racism, drugs, dating, gender ideology (beginning in early elementary school), social media, and more. 

Since then, we have had countless conversations in technicolor with our children over social issues. We are still having them. I don’t know if we are doing it the best way or the right way, but we are still talking and our kids are still talking to us. That seems like a good start.

The world is moving fast, and our children are trying to process it. We need to start the conversation, have the conversation, and continue the conversation. What is affecting your child at school, at church, with friends? Start there. What are the social issues surrounding your kids? Read up on them, investigate what your children are hearing at the lunch table, in the church lobby, and learn together. 

Our kids are with us for such a short time. We have a small window of opportunity in their lives to speak into the things of today, yesterday, and what is to come. We have these fleeting moments to infuse social issues with gospel hope and gospel truth, permeated with compassion, understanding, and charity as they process.

You don’t have to do it perfectly. It doesn’t have to look smooth, and you don’t have to be the expert. Social issues change like the wind. We are learning and relearning and changing all the time. 

We need to be patient, to let conversations take time, to allow God to work in our children, in his timing. We need to be brave to step into uncomfortable conversations. We need to be loving. We need to be faithful. We need to pray.

And we must keep the gospel central. If we don’t bring a gospel worldview through which to process social issues, I assure you, the world won’t do it for us. Our pastors teach us very well, but we cannot rely only on Sunday mornings and youth meetings to teach our children how to engage the world. The world is too loud, too enticing, and too interested in claiming the minds and bodies of the precious souls God entrusted to us. 

Our kids are having the conversations. Every day. We cannot silence the world from speaking. We cannot stop our children from hearing. But we can be a regular, faithful, informed, wise, godly voice that directs our children to the One who created this world for his glory and the good of those he made in his image. 

The stakes are high, but we have a great and magnificent God who is powerful to use us in our weakness! Go forth in faith, friends. We are in it together, and the One who redeemed our souls and filled us with his Holy Spirit is active and for us, and he is forever victorious.

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