Tough Talks: How To Talk To Your Child About Losing Your Home

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

When I was 19 years old I woke up one night in a smoky home.  I remember thinking ‘Why is it so hot in here?  Why is there smoke in my home?’.  I realize that my home was on fire.  Immediately I went to the door and felt of the handle.  It was red hot, but it was also the only way out of my room.  I took a huge risk and opened the door.  My brother’s room was filled with fire.  I had a small opening to leave and made it out of the home.  I was the last one out of the home.  Within an hour my home and everything I owned was burned to the ground.

A few years later I got a call from my mom that she couldn’t pay for her new home anymore.  I don’t remember as much about this loss because I was in seminary.  My family once again lost their home, but this time it was due to finances.

I learned a lot from those experiences.  God shows His faithfulness during times of trails.  A home is not important.  Your family is what is important.

So when we made the decision to move in with Jennifer’s parents in August, I was cool to once again lose a home.  Honestly, Jennifer and I never really enjoyed our home there.  Both of us were thankful it was a rental.  Neither of us shed many tears over losing our home in Georgia.

One night my 4 year old daughter and I were eating together at a fast food place.  Out of nowhere and for no reason (mind of a child) she ask me, ‘Daddy when are we going back to our yellow home.”  For all of the things that the Lord had prepared me for in our losses, none helped in this moment.  It was a curveball and hit straight to my heart.  It is difficult to fight back tears and give an answer that a child will understand.  I settled down so she wouldn’t know how upset her question had made me.  I did my best, but felt that I had failed in this moment.

My wife did a much better job answering the question when it came up again.  We talked about her answer and came up with some points that might be helpful.

  • Borrowing/sharing – We rented that home.  My wife explained to our child that we simply borrowed it and now it was time to share it with someone else.  Since we’ve been working on sharing anyway this seemed to work well.
  • Positives – “Don’t you love staying with grandma and papaw?” She does love it.  You have all of your things here and get to spend great time with your family.
  • We are staying together as a family.  In fact, we will spend MORE time together now that we are living with your grandparents.  It is a change, but mom and dad aren’t going anywhere.
  • Season – This is just for a few minutes.  We will get a new home soon.  “Isn’t it fun to spend time here with your grandparents while we wait for God to open up a home for us?”
  • Provision of God – “Isn’t it awesome God is taking care of us by letting us spend time with grandma and papaw?  Let’s pray that God opens up a home for us.”  We want her to understand that the Lord is providing – He is faithful and trustworthy.

I’m no child psychologist.  I’m just a Christian dad trying to lead his family to follow Jesus. My hope is that this article will help those struggling with this issue.

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