April 19, 1906: “3000 Dead, $300,000,000 Lost, San Francisco is Obliterated”
October 25, 1929: “Greatest Crash in Wall Street’s History”
December 7, 1941: “War! Oahu Bombed By Japanese Planes”
September 12, 2001: “U.S. Attacked: Hijacked Jets Destroy Twin Towers and Hit Pentagon in Day of Terror”
These are a few of the headlines that have hit U.S. newspapers over the past 100 years. The common thread weaving each one together is summed up with one word…destruction. It is the same word that we read in articles as we scroll through our newsfeed today. With all the advances that have been made in the last century, we still haven’t been able to stop the destruction.
Here is how the Apostle Paul describes the destruction that is present in our world:
We know that all that God created has been groaning. It is in pain as if it were giving birth to a child. The created world continues to groan even now. And that’s not all. We have the Holy Spirit as the promise of future blessing. But we also groan inside ourselves. We do this as we look forward to the time when God adopts us as full members of his family. Then he will give us everything he has for us. He will raise our bodies and give glory to them. That’s the hope we had when we were saved. But hope that can be seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? We hope for what we don’t have yet. So we are patient as we wait for it.
Paul’s words to the Romans ring true to us because they describe what we experience every single day.
As a parent, how do I communicate this reality to my children? It is impossible to hide them from it. Eventually, they will feel the same groans that we do. Destruction will continue until the story is finished.
At times of destruction, we can build.
As we wait patiently for the groaning to end, we can fight back. We can stand up and do something. We can build.
This is where imagination enters the equation. We can nudge our kids towards better stories by giving them opportunities to build in the middle of destruction. Here are five ideas to help shape a generation of builders:
Let children actually build.
Pull out the blocks and encourage your kids to create. The great thing about legos and blocks is that they get torn down and need to be built back up again.
Create beauty from junk.
Take something that is broken, ugly, or useless and make it into something wonderful. Boxes can become castles, paper towel rolls can become telescopes, tin cans can become robots.
Find stories about builders.
As you look for stories to introduce to your children, look for the ones that have characters who aspire to build the world around them. Here are a few picture books to get you started:
- Little Blue Truck By Alice Schertle
- Mr. Gumpy’s Outing By John Burningham
- Cowardly Clyde By Bill Peet
- Last Stop on Market Street By Matt De La Peña
- The Most Magnificent Thing By Ashley Spires
Give your kids real stories of life change happening. Sponsor a child in another part of the world, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, invite a church missionary over to your house for dinner. Your kids will be listening to the stories they are telling.
Live a life that builds.
It all starts with you. Children will see the example you set as a builder. In times of destruction, choose to build. If it is real in your life, there is a good chance it will be real for your kids as well.
Small, intentional actions can begin to shape a generation of builders. Destruction won’t end, but we can fill the world with children who are prepared to build.