Earlier this week, we had a thunderstorm in the middle of the night. While it did not last very long, it was quite strong. In fact, at about 1:05 AM, I heard the loudest clap of thunder I believe I have ever heard. Immediately, both of our kids were awake, and I was checking on them.
The imagery of storms is often used to describe difficult times in life. We speak of the “storms of life” as a way to talk about times of loss, struggle, or depression. Just as children need us during literal storms, they need parents during those storms of life, too.
What can parents do to help their children through the storms of life? Think about how you handle weather storms. There are three things we must have.
1. Courage. It is not that we act as if the storms are not real; instead, we show that we can face them with strength. A child will get more scared if a parent acts as if he/she has never seen a storm before. Instead, with the help of God, we must courageously walk through this time.
2. Concern. A parent must avoid seeming truly afraid, but a healthy level of concern is necessary to lead. Preparations help greatly, but concern needs to be shown throughout the storm. During a terrible weather storm, a parent may watch the TV weather or check updates on the smartphone. During a storm of life, continually searching for information shows that the storm is real, but that the parent is staying on top of things.
3. Calm. This may seem like the same thing as courage, but it is a calmness that only comes from having peace in the Lord. We will be truly frightened at times in our life, but the one who is walking with the Lord has peace in the midst of the storm. A child can pick up on that, and will be more likely to ask about our faith when we are peaceful, when it seems the storms of life are raging.
During the storm recently, I lay in the bed with my daughter, trying to just be calm, so she would go back to sleep. At one point, though, I was glad she stayed awake. The reason was simple. She raised her head up, put her lips to my cheek and gave me a little kiss. Then, she said, “Thank you, daddy.”
It wasn’t that hard to earn that “thank you” during a thunderstorm, but a parent who has courage, concern, and calm will earn a much bigger “thank you” from a child when a true storm of life rages.
Photo background credit: Brian Tomlinson on Creative Commons