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Violence, Disaster, & War
Tips & ideas
|View & print the "Facing Our Fears" parish flyer, a one-page parish flyer from Faith at Home. This free issue of our flyer was developed after Sept. 11, 2001, to be helpful with a faith-based perspective for parents and others who spend time with children. You may freely distribute printed copies of the Faith at Home "Facing Our Fears" flyer if you do not change it in any way. View the Faith at Home parish flyer, "Facing Our Fears" (a PDF file).|
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.
From the night service of Compline, The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (ECUSA)
+ For adults +A Generation of Survivors In response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the wisdom of older people who lived through World War II.
How Do I Deal With My Feelings? and other excellent online brochures from the Red Cross.
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The destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005 on coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama is stunning. I hold in my thoughts and prayers everyone who is closely involved, and all who feel its impact.
Someone said to me after the September 11 terror attacks on the U.S.A. that God is not at a distance, but rather right next to each person. I hold that close again and again. God was and is present with those in every attic and every rooftop; every bus, boat, helicopter, hotel, shelter, and other temporary space with the refugees; every water- and debris-filled neighborhood and city street; every person near and far attempting to help in whatever way we can.
My task in this as a parent, like many of you, is now to answer my children's difficult questions about disaster as well as to help them work through their thoughts and feelings. The December 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia was far away and prompted questions; this one is a day trip away and has stirred up some fears. I give thanks that even my poorest attempts will help all three of us.
In the Shadow of Fear: Living with violence, disaster, and war - A Faith at Home article
A Faithful Response to Violence and War: Some suggestions for parents and teachers - A Faith at Home article
A Light In This Dark Valley: A manual for disaster and trauma victims - for older children
How do we prepare our children to deal with suffering? - A Faith at Home article
Helping Young Children Cope With Trauma - An online Red Cross brochure
Talking to Children about Violence - A brief, very helpful overview
Helping Children Understand Crisis and Trauma - Make sure to look through the links at the bottom of the page, too; great resources.
Offer your children some faith language
Create or adapt a play set of a shepherd, some sheep, and a sheepfold. You could cut out paper figures or use playdough or pipecleaners. Read together or tell a Good Shepherd story (Psalm 23 & John 10). Wonder together how the sheep felt as the Good Shepherd took care of them near the sheepfold and also in the dangerous, rocky places. Leave the play set available for play and working through this essential story.
Light a candle to remember the people involved, and to remember that Christ is our light.
Spend some time with free-art supplies such as colored pencils or crayons, colored papers torn up for mosaic pictures, moldable clay, charcoals, watercolors, or craft items, so your children and you can express whatever you like in a visual, tactile way with no explanation required.
Plant some flower bulbs that will bloom in the spring. Bring your children to the store, buy some bulbs (tulips, narcissus, snowdrops, anemones, whatever you like), dig some holes in your yard's soil or put moist soil in indoor containers, drop those bundles of promise into their places, and cover them with soil, as you look ahead to when they might bloom after winter. If you're in the Southern hemisphere, you might plant fall-blooming bulbs while it's spring.
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Copyright © 2002 Barbara Laufersweiler
Ribbon graphic by Alon Cohen