I'm not sure if you missed it, but this week marks 75 years since the prisoners of Auschwitz were liberated. Such a dark time in the recent past. Citizens watched (and too many sat silent) as their fellow citizens (friends, neighbors, teachers, grocers etc.) were first marginalized, then forcibly ostracized from the communities they had help to build. Too many other countries sat silent as such a dark evil was allowed to sweep across Europe. Such an important time to remember and NEVER forget.
As I was watching some of the coverage of the memorials and events marking this day, I was awestruck by the story of one survivor in particular. Mrs. Tova Freidman was 5 when she and her family went got to Auschwitz. At such a young age, I'm sure she didn't immediately fully understand the horrors that awaited her, her family and the other prisoners. This didn't stop her mother though. Tova spoke about how her mother protected her by telling her the truth!! She said that her mother didn't ever hold back. This shocked me. I can only imagine my young children being there and how knowing what was likely to happen, how I would try to pretend that all was ok. This is not the choice Tova's mother made. She didn't hold back and always told her daughter what was happening and why. This would allow her to respond accordingly.
After hearing this interview, I started thinking about my kids. My first thought was this world and the conversation that Paul has in Ephesians 6. Its easy for us to think it wise to not tell our children that they are in the midst of a war. But it is a spiritual battle. Take a look at 2 Timothy 2:22,
"Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. ", HCSB
There can't be "youthful passions" (or "adolescent cravings" according to another version), if it was only adults in the war. Scripture also talks about satan setting traps for us; some of those traps are specific to the youth of the day.
Now, obviously I am not saying that we should terrify our children with stories of devils and demons lurking behind every corner, but we shouldn't shy away from talking about the great deceiver either. Especially in light of one of my favorite verses,
"...the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.", 1 John 4:4 HCSB
Remember the one who is in the world is that old liar from the start. The One who is in you, died on Calvary for your sins and mine. And NEVER forget, He got back up!!
Take the lead from Mrs. Tova Freidman's mother. Tell your children that they are in a war. They are in a battle. Then prepare them for war against an enemy who has already lost. As long as they get on the right side of the battle, they will be victorious!