We have had a very difficult situation in our small town. Recently, three staff members at our local school were involved in a very serious car accident. Two of these people were critically injured and are still in critical condition as I write this post. This is a tough situation in a small town where everyone knows everyone! It is a really tough situation when children are involved. It isn't easy to turn tragic events into teachable moments as a parent, but that has been my goal during this time!
My children know the people involved in this accident….they know their children….that is small town life! When we found out about the accident I had a lot of hard questions to answer and I prayed that God would give me wisdom for those teachable moments.
My children are spaced out…so we have one at practically every stage…all the time! Most of my time was spent talking with my 9-year-old and my 14-year-old. My 2-year-old was obviously oblivious in her own toddler world. My 17-year-old was….his typical self…and kept his thoughts to himself.
The lessons I hope I taught during these teachable moments
Life is Fleeting.
One of my girls said something about how crazy it was knowing that these people were totally fine the hour before…and now they were fighting for their lives in the hospital. That is the reality of life…it can change with a breath! I reminded her of God's Word in James 4:14…our life is a vapor! I reminded her that is why we need to live each day to the fullest and live each day for the Lord! We do not know when it will be our last!
2. This is Why Parents Worry.
Yes…I worry…even though I know I shouldn't. I told my daughter that every time her brother gets behind the wheel of a vehicle and leaves my sight a little part of me is holding my breath until he returns. Driving a vehicle is like driving a weapon and things can happen in an instant!
3. Turn to God.
She was so heartbroken for the children involved…knowing their mother was so badly hurt. She said she couldn't imagine how they would be able to go on if the worst happened. I TOTALLY get it….if the worst happened to one of my children….I don't know how I would go on….but I know who would help me…God. I reminded her that the only place we can get strength during these situations was from above! Psalms 46:1 reminds us that God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble!
4. Be Honest.
My 9-year-old asked me if the people hurt were going to make it….I honestly didn't know at that time. Instead of giving her platitudes and false reassurances…I just said…”I don't know”. As a parent, I like to have all the answers, but unfortunately, we just don't always know the answer or the outcome. I think that children appreciate honesty and they can usually see through our false reassurances anyway.
5. Focus on Prayer.
I reminded my girls that prayer is the best help we can give those in need. We prayed for the families involved. We asked others to pray for them. We know that prayer is the most powerful tool in our arsenal as Christians!
I would be lying if I said that I always turn situations or tragic events into teachable moments….but I am working hard as a parent to do a better job of it! I think God uses so many situations and circumstances for His glory if we will only stop and see the work He is doing!
Have you been able to turn tragic event into teachable moments in your home lately? I would love to hear more about it!
Authors note: those involved in the accident are still critical, but showing signs of improvement! We have seen an outpouring of love and prayers in our small town and God is definitely working among these families!
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Dawnita Fogleman says
This is a wonderfully practical article. Thank you so much for sharing!