|This article is an excerpt out of Ideas for Parents: A Collection of Tips, Insights, and Activities for Real-World Parenting by Mark Matlock and Christopher Lyon. For more information on this book and/or to purchase it, please click here.|
Scripture: Psalm 46
Many kids go through stages where fear seems to be ruling their lives. They may have trouble sleeping, and they may avoid any situation that involves what they fear in the moment.
It’s not just kids, of course. Parenting creates the opportunity to be afraid of all kinds of new things you never worried about before. Some parents become fearful people on behalf of kids who seem to lack the sense to known what they should be afraid of.
But as a Christian parent, you also have a unique opportunity to begin equipping your kids with the primary tool for vanquishing fear now and for the rest of their lives: Faith in a bigger God.
Our Talking Points come from Psalm 46–a psalm that describes very real dangers, yet makes the point that God is bigger than whatever may frighten or worry us. We hope a few of the following questions will provoke a good conversation with your child about fear and trusting God.
What are a few things that really scare you? (Parent: Open up; be honest about some of your own fears as well.)
Can you think of a recent time when you felt really scared about something? What did you do? (Parent: Again, encourage openness by being open.)
When you think about some of the things that scare or worry you the most, can you imagine anything that would make you completely unafraid of that thing? (Parent: Encourage some brainstorming here–even impossible things. For example, never having to fall asleep, a spray that could instantly make all snakes disappear, the ability to completely forget anything bad that happened in the past, and so on.)
What DOES work to help you overcome your fear?
Do you think God wants us to be afraid? Why or why not?
Does talking to God about your fear help you to feel less scared? Why or why not?
What does the word “refuge” mean to you? (Parent: A refuge is a place of safety.)
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge.” How does God protect us from the things we’re afraid of? Why does He protect us?
Psalm 46:1 also says that God is our strength and He’s ready to help at all times. Do you believe God is stronger than whatever you’re afraid of–that He’s stronger and bigger than anything you can imagine?
Psalm 46:2-3 describes natural disasters people might fear: earthquakes and floods, maybe a tsunami. What’s the worst thing you can imagine happening? (Parent: Talking about the worst-case scenario is a way of bringing in into the light and discovering either how unlikely it is or that it’s survivable. Leaving the worst unspoken often gives it more power.)
Psalm 46:4-5 describes that when God is in a city, He can keep it safe even if the worst thing happens, because He is there and He is more powerful than any terrible thing. How confident are you that God could take care of you even if the worst thing happened?
Psalm 46:8-9 shows us that God is not afraid to use His power against evil to make it stop. God has all the power He needs to step in when the time is right. How confident are you that God can protect you by destroying evil?
Psalm 46:10 gives one strategy for responding to fear. It says we should “be still, and know that I am God.” How could we do better at stilling our thoughts and focusing on God’s power whenever we’re afraid? (Parent: Help your child brainstorm some strategies including prayer, reading the Bible, listening to Chistian music, or talking with someone about God’s power.)