Responding to Ukraine/Russia with Your Children

The following statement was sent to our middle and elementary teachers and staff on the morning of Feb. 24, 2022.

Middle School and Elementary Teams,

Please read the following information from Tim Paauw regarding the Ukraine/Russia situation. Paauw and I (Betsy Koop) continue to be in prayer for you as teachers who field students many questions and have the privilege of walking with them through these incredible nuanced and difficult situations. Please let me know how I can support you in this or if you have any questions. 

Many of you have woken up in the same way I likely did, anxious upon hearing the news in the Ukraine of evacuations and bombing. Our kids will likely hear that as well before they arrive today or they will learn it from someone today.
In moments like this, as educators, we need to pause and process how to lead our kids in commUNITY. We need to recognize our partnership with parents and that a variety of emotions and opinions on situations like this will exist within our group (sanctions versus war versus avoidance conversations will likely unfold with or without us). 

How can we help our students today and in the weeks ahead as they process? Here are a few things to consider as we enter this day:

  • What can we do as ZCS community RIGHT NOW? What is our best action together, as one body in Christ? Pray. What can we pray for? How do we let our students know this?
    1. Pray for peace – Psalm 133. There are various opinions on what is needed and those likely are best processed at home and not in our community classroom spaces (make that clear), but what we can all agree upon is that we serve a God who gives the gift of peace and we should pray for that over all our nations and for those overseas today and the days ahead. God wants peace, He is peace. We must remind our students that He is sovereign and reigns over all the earth, it’s HIS earth.
    2. Remember that students at various ages and stages will only be able to process certain levels of a concept like this… younger ones won’t know how close or far away “Ukraine/Russia” are from “my home”… consider your grade-level as you engage or don’t engage in how deep you go with this topic. Do Remind students across the program that safety is always our priority for them and we can pray for that over others. We value safety as a community and God wants that too. He is our ROCK & Refuge, Psalm 23 even talks about His ability to keep us safe in the presence of enemies – how great is God. 
    3. Our students have been through a lot of political chaos, a pandemic full of emotions and opinions, and a mandatory home-stay… let’s remember that their processing likely looks different than when we were growing up. God asks us to pray for one another. God asks us to trust in Him. God asks us to cast our cares to Him. Let us remind kids of that and also that each person and each family is uniquely created and in unique situations, our best way to support each other is to show respect by allowing acknowledgement of that and that our parents and churches are our partners – especially in tough topics like this situation and we want to shine on that by keeping these sensitive topics as ones we encourage parents and kids to talk about together and pray over together at home but that we will recognize them and keep praying over these things in our classrooms too so students know we are aware and with them.

Burn Bright

Betsy Koop and Tim Paauw

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