Teaching Kids: Peace
If you have children of your own, have interacted with children, or have just observed children in the wild then you know that the word “peace” is not an accurate descriptor for childhood. Childhood is chaos and craziness with a little bit of calm only during periods of sleep (and sometimes not even then!). Childhood is a time of exploration and education and that is not always a peaceful endeavor.
Jesus is our Prince of Peace. How better to teach our children how to have peace than to direct them to Jesus? By introducing Jesus to our children from the very beginning of their lives and calling Him by His names and listing His attributes, our children associate Him with everything they discover. When our children feel happy that the sun is shining, we thank Jesus our Creator for His total control over the weather and the sun, moon, and stars. When our children learn their colors, we praise Jesus for the rainbow and His promise of faithfulness and forgiveness. When our children experience emotions like anger or sadness or fear, we look to Jesus our Prince of Peace and ask for that peace to fill our hearts and minds.
In our house, our least peaceful moments revolve around anger, sadness, and fear. Children experience big emotions that sometimes are not rational and sometimes they cannot adequately explain. Their initial reaction to these emotions is to cry, scream, or flail their limbs around. Admittedly, I want to do those things when feeling upset too! As parents, we help teach our children to understand and manage their emotions. What a wonderful opportunity to share with them the life of Jesus!
When our children feel angry, we can remind them that Jesus felt angry too. Jesus overturned tables and benches (Mark 11:15-17). Jesus felt a righteous anger against actions that offended God. We can ask our children if they are angry about sin that offends God or about something not going their way. We can remind them that Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” We teach our children that when we feel anger, we ask Jesus to provide His peace so we can think clearly and respond correctly without sin.
When our children feel sad, we can remind them that Jesus felt sad. He lost a dear friend and He cried over this loss. John 11:34 tells us that after Lazarus died, “Jesus wept.” We can assure our children that it is ok to cry when we feel sad or hurt. We are always able to come to our Heavenly Father, who is our Comforter. When our children are sad, we can teach them to turn to Jesus who says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
When our children are afraid, we can remind them that Jesus encountered scary situations too. Jesus was in a boat during a great storm that scared trained fishermen, but He had power over the wind and the rain (Mark 4:41). An angry crowd of people surrounded Jesus and threatened to throw Him from a high mountain, but Jesus walked calmly away from them unharmed (Luke 4:30). Jesus knew He was to endure arrest, beating, and death but He prayed to His Father, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39). We have the hope of Jesus on this side of the cross! While on the earth, He displayed His total power of the earth, people, and even death! He grants us peace when we are afraid because He is greater than all our fears. In Psalms, David claims, “The Lord is my light and my salvation-Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). We have claim to this same truth. When our children are afraid, let us teach them to run to the Lord of our salvation and rest in His peace that passes all understanding.
I seek to point my children to Jesus in everyday MOMents so they learn to see Him everywhere. But I struggle to find the balance of rites, rituals, and rote memorization and true understanding of Christ. I do not want to raise little Pharisees. I want to raise disciples of Christ who seek to know Him. By incorporating Jesus into every area of their lives instead of just at church or during Bible reading, I hope my children learn that nothing is outside the notice of God and that He cares for His creation. I hope that the knowledge of God’s involvement in everything leads to genuine peace in their lives.
The true beauty of teaching our children about the peace of God? It is directly applicable back to us as mothers! How often do we experience feelings of anger, sadness, or fear regarding our children or motherhood (and all other areas of life)? As we point our children to Jesus let us also point our own hearts and minds to Him. As mentioned in the post: Love is Not, may we hold fast to this truth, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3).