Some years ago, I found myself subbing for a rambunctious group of second graders. Each of the students entered the room that morning with their own little personalities, and made their way around the room to complete their morning assignments. However, there was one student in the bunch whose behavior differed from the others. Although he sat amongst a table of smiling peers, he was crying his eyeballs out… and I couldn’t understand why; after all, school had barely begun.
While the main teacher, who hadn’t yet left for the day’s meeting, talked to him, I stood off to the side reminiscing about another weeping student I’d had a week or two prior. Interrupting my thoughts was his teacher, explaining to me the student’s issue. “He said he misses his mother,” she said. “But he cries every day, all day.” After explaining things a little further to me, concerning the student’s daily behavior, she walked away, and I continued to wonder. “Why are these children, these babies—only six and seven years old—so depressed, depressed to the point of weeping daily?” As I pondered that, God quickly revealed to me that it’s the enemy—he is after our children.
This scenario comes flooding back to me each time I hear of a child in the eight to ten age range committing suicide, the most recent being a ten-year-old in the state of Utah.
The enemy, friends, is relentless in his pursuit…and he’s always looking to attack. The apostle Peter describes him (1 Peter 5:8) as a roaring lion [one enraged with hunger], roaming about, seeking someone to devour, which is why we must be on our guard (rooted in God’s Word), and why we have to make sure that our kids are on guard, too. There are all kinds of evil in this world that will affect them—from the bullying many will face in their youth, to the rejection that could touch them as they grow older—which is why their little “loins must be girded,” as Paul commands us to gird ours, in Ephesians 6:14 (KJV). How is this done for a child? This is done by, firstly, teaching them the truth of their Creator, followed closely by telling them of the love He has for them, displayed through the sending of His Son. Next, educate them on the importance of serving God and Him only, and drill into them that prayer is the key in this life and the mainline to the throne of God.
It is imperative that children know what God says about them and His purpose for their young lives, and to be reminded daily of these truths.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, God says to the people of Israel, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (emphasis added). In like manner are we to teach our children the truths and ways of God daily. Because the only way that they’ll be able combat the lies of the enemy—by whatever means they come—is to be grounded/saturated in truth.
That said, if you find that your child has been rather quiet lately, or weepy… maybe even grumpy, talk to him or her to find out why. Once you’ve established a good rapport with them (as sometimes it’s hard to get kids to open up!), remind them of God’s truth for their lives (and of the power of prayer). Tell them also of some of the highs and lows you’ve faced with God, and assure them that the things they face in this life are not in vain and will work for their ultimate good. (Also be sure to encourage them to report any serious issues they may be having with another student, or adult.)