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How can I help my children face an increasingly dark world?

How can I shield them from all the horrible things that are happening? These questions have been heavy on my heart with all the storms–physical, violent and emotional, that are raging today.

I know these aren’t thoughts that are unique to me which makes this all the more troubling. And I know I don’t feel the level of despair that so many parents are feeling right now.

I can only imagine the grief of those parents whose children have been wrenched from them by these storms of natural destruction or human hatred.

I didn’t take it for granted that I was able to sit tonight with my four children snuggled close on the couch as they watched a Disney movie. Their sweet innocence was in sharp contrast to the devastation and contention I read about as I quickly scanned the newsfeed on my phone.

I prayed for help to know to prepare them for all the challenges to come.

My children directed my attention to a pretty scene on the movie. It was their first time watching Disney’s new live-action “Beauty and the Beast”. I had loved the music the first time I watched it, but tonight some of the words echoed the questions of my heart:

“How in the midst of all this sorrow
Can so much hope and love endure”

-“Days in the Sun”, Alan Menken and Tim Rice

I’m sure there are many answers to this question, and they are probably more eloquent than mine. But as I looked around at my children I recognized that hope and love are made of much stronger stuff than sorrow and fear.

If the unthinkable happened tomorrow and my loved ones were thrust into the darkest situations in life, my prayer is that we have all experienced enough hope and love to trust in brighter days ahead. Bright hope will give my children and me a resiliency that other preparations cannot provide.

I don’t mean an “artificial, paste on a smile, and deny what’s going on” kind of hope.

Instead, the kind of hope that can look evil or despair in the eye and say, “This is hard. It is devastating. But it is not the end of the story.”

We can weep for the innocent lives lost. We can rally for policy changes. Yet, hope and love are to be sought for even more earnestly. Having a hope and vision of something better and brighter actually does make the world become better and brighter.  We must not lose those qualities of hope and love that will endure beyond our current situations.

The last refrain of Menken and Rice’s song ended with that promise of hope:

“Days in the sun will return
We must believe as lovers do
That days in the sun
Will come shining through”


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Title Photo credit:
Zoltan Kovacs

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