Congregational Discussion Questions: Gun Violence and Childhood Trauma

​Because this issue centers around the questions of trauma and childhood, readers might consider engaging high school and middle school youth groups in their study and discussions of these issues.  These conversations might need to be done in virtual formats or on discussion boards during the pandemic.

Questions for adults to ask older children:

  1. What are some of the distinct memories you have of witnessing gun violence or seeing events on the news that involved gun violence? How have these impacted the way you see your community?
  2.  What are you glad adults have done in response? And what do you wish adults would do in response to these events?
  3. When you think of younger children you know, what do you fear most for them and what do you hope most for them?Questions for adults to ask adults:
  1.  How do you talk to children about gun violence when they see it on the news or experience it in their communities?
  2. How does racism affect the ways children experience gun violence? Consider both how children are victims of racism and participants in it.  How can we address the roots of racism in order to to also address the epidemic of gun violence?
  3. Niveen Sarras makes note that Isaiah’s prophecy makes particular promises to children.  What emotions are evoked in you when you hear “The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den”?
  4. What is the role of adults in the church to take care of the public health, the spiritual health, and the physical health of children in their community? In what ways are you acting as a good Samaritan to your neighbors’ children?

Jennifer Hockenbery

Jennifer Hockenbery serves as Editor of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics .  She is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Humanities at St Norbert College. She attends Grace Lutheran Church in Green Bay, WI.