Lessons Learned Through Tragedy


For me, this was a joyous season. Just like many others, I was a little sad about returning to work yesterday. It was awfully fun to sit by the fire in my comfy pajamas, eat sweets, and watch Christmas movies with my “babies”!  I worked through my emotions, reminding myself of what I am thankful for (a great family, great church, and job that I love). Then I received a call from a friend telling me that a little girl from my former church had been killed in an accident. My heart sunk, thinking about the loss (on Earth) of this little girl. I thought of her parents, who are such good, loving, Christian parents, and how they would not see their little girl again on this Earth.

Almost immediately, things were put in perspective for me. Earlier that morning, I had let my to-do list fill my mind. Now that mattered much less. The little things that overwhelmed me were set aside. The projects to complete, lessons to write, and laundry to fold seemed less daunting.

I thought of that sweet little girl’s smile and remembered her hugs. I thought of her parents and how they would miss her. Then I thought of my personal children and how much I love them. What if this happened to my family? How would we cope? How could we prevent the loss of our children?

When tragedy happens, we want to respond. We want to fix it or to prevent it from happening again. One tendency might be to hold tightly to our children to try to avoid tragedy. Another tendency might be to deny the idea that anything tragic could happen to them

I choose to live in the middle ground, thankful for each day I have to spend with my children, but not suffocating them or preventing them from exploration of their own lives. I choose to hug them often, tell them of my love, and to teach them to make wise choices.  I choose to grieve alongside my friends, while trusting in a God who knows better than I do.

Be thankful. Your children are a great treasure from God. They should not simply be tag-alongs or part of your to-do list.

Do not hover. Helicopter parents are unwelcome annoyances to their children, and they do not allow their children to grow or thrive. In addition, they cannot prevent all tragedy.

Show your children how to trust God. Make trusting Him in all circumstances part of your vocabulary and your prayers. (God, I do not understand why this had to happen, but I know that you do. I don’t like it, but I trust you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.)

Be cautious, but don’t worry. Take appropriate precautions for your children’s safety, but don’t worry. Worrying solves nothing. Accidents happen. We are not in control.

Model life lived to its fullest. Don’t wish away today. Enjoy it.

Treasure special moments. Take time to enjoy the moments that you snuggle with, read books to, or tuck in your children for the night. Be silly with your children and laugh at their jokes.

Make memories. Take time to do special things with your children: picnics, pizza parties on the carpet during a movie, playing at the park, baking, etc.

I hurt for my friends. My prayer for them is that God provides comfort, peace, and hope. My prayer for other parents is that we learn to parent better, to be thankful for each moment that we have with our children, and to trust God in all circumstances.