Religion Today: Time for Children – How to Equip Kids to Face Difficult News with Weekly Family Time
The stream of tough topics for parents to explain can feel unending: social unrest, hate crimes, natural disasters … the pandemic. Many children and teens have struggled to process what they see at school, in their neighborhoods and on the news.
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The Quimby family, of Pasadena, creates a space to talk about this and other topics every Thursday evening together in their living room.
“This is a comfortable place with our feelings and with ourselves. It’s a no-judgment zone that fosters love and instruction,” said Daisy Quimby, who works in Burbank, regarding their weekly family time. “The setting really helps them to express themselves,” said her husband, Santos. He feels this time provides an opportunity to tap into the spiritual side of their three sons, who range in age from 6 to 17.
The Quimbys, of Pasadena, use resources on jw.org during weekly family time to help their sons face challenges. Jehovah’s Witnesses – Public Information Desk photo
That family time became crucial for them over the summer of 2020. Recalling one evening that stood out, Santos said, “I’m watching the news live, and they’re watching this and realizing it’s not a movie. It’s really happening.” The concerned looks on their sons’ faces made it clear that the images of rioting and violent protest they just saw needed to be discussed as a family right away. He added, “We explained why it was happening. We didn’t hesitate.”
In an ever-changing and challenging world, experts recommend regular family discussions to help young ones build resilience.
“Good communication is essential for a child’s survival in this world,” said James Wright, a California-based family counselor and conflict resolution mediator. “Why not have a family discussion once a week and talk about what’s going on in your lives?”
The Quimbys are not alone in holding regular family discussions. For nearly two decades, families of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world have been encouraged to make “family worship” an uninterrupted weekly routine.
“For many of our families, their weekly discussions are among the most important hours of the week,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “It has brought thousands of our families closer together and helped children feel safe and loved.”
In 2009 Jehovah’s Witnesses reduced their midweek meetings from two to one, freeing up an evening each week for families to enjoy more time together.
“Meeting in large groups for worship is a Bible command, but the Bible also tells parents to make time to talk with their kids,” Hendriks said. “The change to our weekly meetings helped families to prioritize unhurried Bible discussions tailored to their needs.”
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For the Cariagas of Lomita, California, their weekly discussion provided a time to promptly address racism when their three girls saw news reports about hate crimes targeting their Asian community.
“The articles on jw.org about prejudice and the video about anxiety were really helpful,” said mom Lorrie Cariaga, referencing free resources on the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, where they often turn for practical and Scriptural solutions to family concerns.
Along with serious topics, the Cariagas mix singing, dramatic performances, and hiking in their family worship together. “Family time is like an open space; it’s relaxed, and it’s always fun,” Sophie said, 14.
Family nights provide something else that is priceless for the Quimbys – unity and courage in a divided world. “We do everything as a family. It’s always the five of us,” Santos said. “It’s the glue that helped everything come together. We’re working as one unit.”
Submitted by Jehovah’s Witnesses – Public Information Desk
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Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS), which act as stringer-news providers for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.