In Featured, Pastor Paul's Blog

By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: Respond’ as in… how do we help kids respond to humankind’s inhumanity to humankind?

Mr. Rogers was masterful in his ability to talk reassuringly with kids about massively challenging issues in the world. Of course, it’s natural to want to protect young people from the harsher realities of life, but to avoid them does them a disservice. Fred Rogers once said, “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.”

So how do we talk to kids about the Ukraine invasion?

Deborah Farmer Kris is a parenting columnist for PBS Kids, an education journalist, and the founder of Parenthood 365. She’s also the mother of an 8-year-old son with questions, feelings, and fears. In her article “How to Talk to Kids About the Ukraine Invasion”
Deborah suggests several things that she’s found helpful. Full disclosure, this is her stuff because it’s that good:

  1. Using a map or a globe, put a finger on Ukraine, Russia, and the Black Sea. Then, touch the other countries and talk about the formation and breakup of the Soviet Union.
  2. Talk about why wars start in the first place and how this was a “war of choice” because Russia’s leader wants “more.” Explain that this is wrong like it would be wrong for someone to break into a kid’s bedroom and say, “All of this is mine.”
  3. Using simple terms, have a conversation about sanctions (consequences), naming some of the other countries imposing sanctions on Russia.
  4. Talk about refugees. Showing pictures of Ukrainians in a train station can be a helpful image while also talking about appropriate organizations that are equipped to help.
  5. Finally, reassure your young person that it’s appropriate to keep talking about this crisis and that we’re all learning as we go.

Friends, I’m confident in the work of Lutheran World Relief. My challenge to you is when you ask yourself, ” How do we respond to humankind’s inhumanity to humankind?” donating through Lutheran World Relief is an effective step and for a limited time, your donation will be matched.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.


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