“Mom, why are all the flags around town at half staff today?” my daughter asked, gazing out the car window.
It’s a question I hear on a regular basis these days and, quite honesty, I’m tired of hearing it.
I’ve grown weary of sharing with my children all the negativity that is taking place in our country–mass shootings, violence, death.
Instead, I’ve decided to focus on the positive, the possibilities, the things that can fill us with strength, hope, and peace.
I’ve chosen to tell my children that whenever they see a flag at half staff, it’s a reminder to ask themselves these questions:
Have I communicated with God today?
Have I read from the Word of God?
Have I reached out to connect with another person in a meaningful way?
The lack of these three things—personal communication with God, seeking God’s wisdom, and connecting with others—are at the root of the growing darkness around us, a darkness that leads us to lower our flags, our hearts are breaking in the process.
It’s been said that hope shines brightest in the darkness. I’ve caught sight of that hope and I’m latching onto it with all I’ve got!
God can carry us through the darkness, He LONGS to carry us through this darkness, but we have to allow Him to do so.
This morning, my daughter, unaware of today’s school shooting, sat next to me and said, “You know, mom? I was just thinking about something. If I didn’t know about Heavenly Father, it would be like being in a car without a driver. It would be scary.”
Too many of today’s youth do not know about a loving God.
Our society is failing us; true change begins in the home.
How can we teach our children to allow God into their lives EVERY SINGLE DAY?
Below are simple ideas that can be shared with children and youth of all ages:
COMMUNICATE WITH GOD
- Kneel with your family in prayer each day
- Kneel beside your bed morning and evening and share your feelings with God. Share why you are feeling happy or sad or angry. God cares how you feel.
- Spend time in nature
- Have down time each day, a time when you can be quiet and still, allowing the Holy Spirit to whisper to you of God’s love for you.
- Take a moment during the day to thank God for your blessings
READ FROM THE WORD OF GOD
- Begin the day by reading a few verses from God’s Word
- Participate in a daily scripture devotional with your family
- Memorize a scripture that will bring you strength and peace when times are hard
- Share a favorite scripture with a friend
- Record insights you’ve gained from reading God’s Word
- Draw a picture depicting a scripture story
CONNECT WITH OTHERS
- Reflect on the needs of others’ before your own
- Do an act of service for a family member, friend, or neighbor.
- Surprise a stranger with a Random Act of Kindness
- Make eye contact with someone, then smile and say hello.
- Offer to help someone in need.
- Lend a listening ear
- Express gratitude and appreciation to others through spoken word, social media, or snail mail.
- Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know
- Host a party or neighborhood gathering
By implementing these ideas and others into the daily lives of our children, we’ll allow them to witness for themselves the feelings of strength, hope, and peace that come from connecting with God. Our children will learn for themselves that God is their loving Heavenly Father who longs to surround them with His light, and that any difficulty in life can be overcome with His help.
May flags flown at half staff be a reminder to you and your family to reflect on your personal relationship with God. By doing so, I foresee a day when flags will fly sky high, hurting hearts will be healed, and our nation will, once again, regain a measure of peace.
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 13:13)
In what ways might you improve your relationship with God today? What actions, if done today, will provide you with more strength, hope, and peace tomorrow?
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