Sometimes I'm tempted to treat my son this way. It's like I just buy right into the "be nice" gospel without any reflection at all. It's like I forget that Jesus was a warrior. "I don't want to scare my child with 'devil talk,' he just needs to know that Jesus loves him," I tell myself. That's definitely easier to teach him, but (upon reflection) I think he needs to know a lot more than that. I think he has a right to know there's an enemy lurking, and (minor detail) that this very real threat is in aggressive pursuit of him. I do want him to become a saint, right?
Jesus didn't teach us niceness. He lowered the gauntlet on sin and ransacked the strongholds of Satan. With Jesus' power, saints do too. And I do want my child to become a saint, so he kind of needs to know about the devil. He needs to know two things, I think. He should know good discernment, and he should know the source of true power.
My son should be able to recognize false promises. He should be able to see the lures of sin as just that, lures. Sure, on the surface they seem good. Sure, there's some pleasurable rewards. But think virtuously, my son. Discern this. Every action is a habit being formed. These habits form our character. What kind of person does this kind of thing? What does the Church teach about it? Why does the Church teach that? Discern what is right, my son.
And he should know the power of God. Are you tempted, son? That's grace! The very fact that you recognize it as a temptation is God, the Holy Spirit at work in your heart, calling out for you to turn to him. Don't be foolish, son. You can't resist temptation on your own, not for long. Turn to Jesus, and make haste. Don't give the devil a chance to work on you.
Become a saint, my son. Put on the full armor of God. Jesus was a warrior, and so are you. I'm proud of you, buddy. I'm praying for you. All the saints are praying for you. All the angels are at your service. I know it may feel like it sometime, but you're never alone. You're a part of something big. It's beautiful. If you don't see that already, you will. I promise.
truth of Jesus Christ.
If Jesus is real, so is the devil. If the devil is real, we have an enemy. If we have an enemy, our freedom is in danger. My child can't live without knowing the devil because life is not the mere intake of oxygen. Life is about the freedom of the sons of God. If we want to live, we need to be able to identify and defeat the enemy.