I don’t know about your house, but my house is normally a busy place with kids running to activities and there is always an instrument being played very loudly. It makes it hard to have conversations. It makes it really hard to have hard conversations. I want to encourage you to consider these things. Brad Pitt was raised in a conservative Christian home. He started having questions and doubts and started asking hard questions. Unfortunately no one took the time to answer his questions and eventually he became agnostic. Kids ask hard questions and they are always asked at the busiest time of day or right before you are going to bed. But we must prepare them to answer common challenges and speak intelligently about their faith. We cannot leave kids spiritually defenseless and then just hope they will grow up to follow Jesus. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” But don’t stop there. Say, “I don’t know, but let’s work together to find the answers.” 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” As parents, our role is to equip children so they can know why they believe what they believe. If a child cannot defend their faith, there’s a strong probability that they will walk away from their faith. So, what do we do when our children ask us those hard, hard, questions? Here are some suggestions from Dale Hudson at Relevant Children’s Ministry.
Don’t overreact. Many adults don’t know what to do so they respond with anger, frustration or surprise. This leaves the child feeling like they have done something wrong.
Commend them. Let your child know asking hard questions is a natural part of the faith journey. Remind them that even Jesus asked why God had forsaken Him when He was on the cross.
- Help them grapple with the questions and find the answers together. You want kids to find the correct answers now rather than waiting until they are sitting in a college classroom or dorm where they may get wrong answers that shake their faith.
Next week I will share some resources and commonly asked questions. Enjoy talking to your children.
Michelle Gerlach, Family Life coordinator