News headlines filled with fear and negativity can lead to discouragement. Cassie Everts discusses ways we can instill hope in our children.
Prior to mom life, I was a producer in Catholic radio for eight years. It was my job to know the news, to keep up with the headlines and be aware of what was breaking. Every day I searched, scrolled and skimmed through news stories looking for what would make compelling and valuable content. The show I worked on presented the latest news and issues of the day through a Catholic lens.
Five kids later and there are days I feel like a hermit. Days I don’t leave the four walls of my house, other than school pickup when my children are not virtual. The TV is off during the day, other than the rare occurrence of Daniel the Tiger or Curious George. I might hear of breaking news when my husband comes home from work, or see headlines when I sign in and out of my email or do a quick scroll through social media.
It may sound like I am out of touch with reality. Perhaps I am. Some may say I have my head buried in the sand. I realize that it is important to be knowledgeable, because this is the world in which we live. To be aware, so we can raise up these intentions in prayer. While there is value in being informed with what is happening in our world and society, I think there is a certain amount of peace that comes with not consuming and being consumed by the news.
To be honest, it prevents me from becoming so discouraged, which allows me to be more present. Because within these four walls are little souls dependent on me. Dependent on my care, attention and love. Little souls that are innocent, full of joy and a beautiful promise of the future. It is my job to protect that, nourish it, and shape it. It is my job to give hope through my prayers words and actions.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. (John 14:1)
The fear of what the future holds does indeed frighten me if I allow it to. I look at my children and wonder how I can keep them from experiencing the ills, heartache and evil that surrounds us. Having them all join monastic life or living with me until they are 40 is not the answer, although I have contemplated both options.
My oldest children are at the age now where they are becoming more aware of what is happening; they hear things at school, and they can read billboards or hear pieces of conversations. It is my responsibility to present them information honestly, but at an age appropriate level in terms they can understand without instilling fear. Easier said than done.
Do not fear: I am with you;
Do not be anxious: I am your God. (Isaiah 41:10)
How can I as a parent ensure my children always have hope, now and as they continue to grow older?
I like to remind them that God has a purpose for their life, that only they can fulfill. God created them for this time, this moment in history with a specific mission, unique to them and no one else. Set apart, equipped to do His will.
Foster and encourage the habit of praying in thanksgiving.
It is easy to present our intentions to God, I feel like my list of petitions are endless. During evening or night prayers, ask the children to also pray in thanksgiving. It can be as simple as being thankful they didn’t have homework or that they have a warm bed to sleep in.
Be sensitive to the news you and your spouse discuss around the children.
It is easy to fall into the habit of talking about the news of the day at the dinner table, but it may not be the best time. There are even conversations that my older sons want to have, sometimes as soon as they get in the van after school, that need to wait until the younger children are not present.
During dinner, ask the children to share something good about their day.
How did they see God’s love? Perhaps through a friend’s kind words, a classmate’s helping hand or a stranger’s smile. It fosters their awareness that God is always present in our lives, active and showing us His love. No matter what may happen, God is here and will take care of us.
Above all, it is up to me to model hope. When uncertainty arises, troubles occur and the future seems daunting. My words and actions need to speak of God’s faithfulness, His providential care, and His unending love. Because we know how the story goes, we know how the story ends! In there lies our hope.
Hold fast to the hope that lies before us. Hebrews 6:18
Copyright 2021 Cassie Everts
Image: Marco Ceschi (2016), Unsplash
About the Author
Cassie Everts is a wife, the mother to five little ones in heaven and five children on earth. She is the co-author of Nursery of Heaven: Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss in the Lives of the Saints and Today's Parents. She blogs at Everyday Ann where she writes about faith, marriage, motherhood, infertility and adoption. Before becoming a full-time mom, she was a producer at Relevant Radio.