Many of us have kind, thoughtful small group leaders in our ministries whose immediate and natural reaction is to help their groups deal with crisis. When we’re all trying to understand this week’s tragedy in Connecticut, our SGLs need to be prepared for the subject to come up in their group. Here are a few guidelines to help leaders of elementary small groups handle the conversation in an age-appropriate way.
1. Remember that the parents are the primary teachers for elementary kids. And different parents may have chosen to handle the subject differently. One kid in your group might know all the details while another may only know generalities. We need to respect the choice parents have made for their family. Do not review details, or allow a kid to review details with the rest of the group.
2. We always want our groups to be safe environments for kids to process tough issues. If one kid seems to have more questions or have a need to talk, find a way to pull that child to the side and let him share his feelings, thoughts or concerns. Then suggest you both talk with his parents together.
3. Just like adults, kids have a desire to want to do something to help. Let them write letters encouraging the kids of Sandy Hook Elementary. Lead them in prayer for the families and the survivors.
Our prayers are with each of you this week and every week. May you show God’s comforting love and peace to the kids in your ministry this Sunday.