|The Great Devourer on Ninjago|
Yes...for a third day in a row I come to you asking for opinions and advice. Not because I don't have my own plan of action but more-so to compare notes and see how you are handling a particular issue in your home. And if you seem to have a better handle on something, I might "barrow" the strategy for our sake and give you the thanks in exchange.
So here is one that has been on my mind now for a while. When do you start telling your children about EVIL? Christian or not, there are some very gruesome aspects of our world that at some point will become a blip on your child's radar. It's especially challenging for Christians like myself however, when we have a world view that includes a spiritual realm that explains the physical state of things & people. Much like the Garden of Eden, possessing the knowledge of good and evil has its pitfalls. A bit of innocence is lost and perhaps an unhealthy fear is realized. I know from my early childhood that I would have nightmares of something evil chasing me around my backyard.
But equipping kids with the knowledge of what is out there is the beginning of discernment. Case in point, my son Michael and I have the following conversation just a couple weeks ago:
Me: What did you do at school today?
Michael: At recess we played chase. But the person chasing us was not called "it" they were called The Great Devourer.
Me: (With concerned interest) What is The Great Devourer (1 Peter 5:8 enters my mind)
Michael: A character on Ninjago that is the Bad Guy
Me: What does he look like?
Michael: A really scary snake.
Me: Do you know what devour means?
Essentially my son has naivly told me that they are pretending the person that is "it" is Satan. For Christians like myself this is not the way we desire a game of chase to be executed. So now I have the unique challenge of explaining the word devour and what the snake represents and why I don't think that kind of pretending is a good idea OR...I can let it go and let his naivete rule the day.
And again, even if you are not a Christian, you know these names and references and at a bare minimum realize that Satan is the symbolic personification of the ultimate expressions of evil. Most parents, no matter the world view would probably not love the idea. Where we may differ of course is in the reaction and explanation. But forget the specifics of this scenario for a moment and instead answer this question from its broadest angle.
When and how do you as parents talk to your children about our world and the evil it contains?