Is Your Child Frightened by the Talk about the End Times?
By Sylvia Cochran – Christian Parenting
Movie makers are fascinated with the topic of a post-apocalyptic world or a major disaster. The “Towering Inferno” or “Earthquake” — both movies from 1974 — were positively tame compared to today’s “2012” and assorted flicks. Doomsday predictions by the Mayan civilization are alternatively treated as fact and fiction. Add to this the proclivity of certain Christian cults and sects to add their Judgment Day spin on things, and it stands to reason that young children in particular live in a state of fright.
A personal conversation with youngsters in elementary school confirms that even though they know that the movies are fiction, there is this little bit of doubt that has them wondering. Will they die in 2012? Will the world end before then? Since it is virtually impossible to turn off the media that advertises these movies, talking to youngsters about these predictions and belief systems is perhaps the best route to take.
- Be honest about Bible prophecies.
Do you squirm when the story of David & Goliath talks about killing? Do you adopt a Veggie Tales approach to dealing with smiting; killing and betrayal (think “King George”)? If your youngster asks you whether or not Judgment Day is in the Bible, be forthright and let him know that indeed it is.
- Don’t sell your child short.
Parents consistently try to find genius in their youngsters. Did he walk sooner than the rest? Is he quicker than others to put together letters? We even start reading to our offspring while they are still in the womb! So why do we draw the line at topics involving hell, death and Judgment Day? While I do not recommend it for bedtime stories, I also do not believe that we should skirt questions about these topics if they come up. It is possible to explain death to a child in age appropriate terms without scaring the youngster.
- Put doomsday prophets into perspective.
The end of the world has been prophesied even since people began to understand the concept. Whether it was Pope Innocent III in 1284, William Whiston in 1736, Albert Porta in 1919 or Harold Camping in 2011, Judgment Day prophets abound. Explain to your child that these prophets are oftentimes scholars who are looking in the Bible for secret clues and thought they found some.
- Remind them of the words of Christ.
Jesus Christ said to his disciples: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:26). If not even Christ knew when Judgment Day would occur, does it not stand to reason that mankind — in spite of its computers and supposed Bible codes — is also kept in the dark? Acts 1:7 drives home the point when Christ explains that “it is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” Man’s speculation about the end times is just that: conjecture and rumor.
- Deal with the underlying fear.
Young kids in particular do not generally fear Judgment Day itself. Frequently there is an underlying fear of death, being alone, being separated from parents or caregivers and generally the unknown. They need to know that they are safe, loved — by parents and God — and they need to be reassured that you will always love them and take care of them.
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