Substance abuse. It’s a heavy topic to tackle.
Talking to 3 to 10-year-olds about substance abuse might seem just a tad premature. Yet every single one of our children has at least one or more addicts in their family. For some it’s a parent. For others it’s a grandparent, uncle or brother.
Knowing this, we knew it was a subject we needed to tackle both with the parents and the kids at the same time.
In discussing this topic, the most shocking revelation of all was just how much our children already know about substance abuse and its different forms. Our “older boys” may be only 5-10 years old, but they knew each drug by name and its various street names.
And the question that was asked the most was, “What does it feel like?”
It isn’t hard to acquire. We can’t shelter them from their peers, their family, their community. There must be an ongoing, open discussion about these topics and it is our duty to teach them to understand and avoid these dangerous dependencies.
In a community where drug abuse has become so common, so accepted as normal, it’s sometimes easy for parents to forget that their children are watching and learning from the examples around them. They see and they imitate. So its crucial that each parent must, they absolutely must, understand the importance of educating their children about substance abuse and its outcomes, and as much as possible, protect them from it.
To give parents a firsthand account of someone’s battle and consequent victory over a drug addiction, we invited a couple to share their personal testimony at our monthly parenting class last Saturday. Knowing that many of them have someone close to them that struggles with substance abuse, we urged them to invite their friends and family to join the class. It was a small turnout. We could see the evident disappointment on some of their faces when they walked into the room alone. But God spoke clearly through Moises and Martina that afternoon. There was no struggle to keep the parents’ attention. Some felt clearly convicted. Others met the conversation with resistance. Many hung back to speak and pray with Moises and his wife after.
Addictions bring so much pain, especially for those left to watch their loved ones struggle. But there is hope. Jesus wants and is absolutely able to free those already struggling with addictions. He desires to heal families and homes. He can protect our children from walking down the same destructive path that so many close to them have already taken.
We pray fiercely for God’s protection over each one of our children. We pray for freedom and healing in each of their families and homes. And all the while, we will continue to broach the hard topics and spur each of our families on to victory and freedom in Christ.