Leave it to my seven-year-old son Joey to ask the hard questions. I had just poured my kids each a bowl of Fiber-O’s and sat down at the breakfast table with my cup of coffee, anxious to get started on the day. I asked them to fold their hands and I simply prayed: “Dear Jesus. Thank you for Joey, Kate and Will. I pray that they choose you—and that their faith will carry them through every day of their lives. Amen.”
And then I got the bomb: What’s faith? How do you explain faith to a seven-year-old? I took a deep breath and then did my best: “Well, Joey, faith is believing in things even if you don’t see them. Like I have faith in God—I know he’s real and I know he’s right here with us right now even though we can’t see Him.”
“Oh. I get it. It’s kinda like how I know I don’t like red peppers even though I’ve never tried them. That’s faith.”
Then my five-year-old Kate chimed in: “Yes. I have faith, too. I didn’t like last night’s chicken. ”
Trying to get the conversation back on-track, I explained oh-so eloquently that having faith in God is a much more serious thing than having faith that you don’t like a certain food. I explained how having faith is the first step to a life-changing walk with God, and how by trusting that God is with us even when we can’t see him, we can always have faith that He will give us everything we need in life.
Their response? “I hope we don’t have to have that chicken again for dinner, then, Mommy.”
I think I have a long way to go. How do you answer the tough questions your kids ask in a way that teaches them and inspires them to seek Jesus? Here are a few ideas:
- Make it an ongoing conversation. If your kid asks a tough question, don’t look at it as a one-time conversation. Instead, spend time praying that God would give you insight and bring up the topic again. And again.
- Use the bible. Bible stories are a great springboard for conversation. My kids and I read the story of Mary in the bible and talked about how Mary demonstrated great faith in God throughout scripture.
- 3. Team up with your husband. Ask your husband for help—he may have a different angle that will help you to better explain something. There is no shame in saying to your kids “Wow, that’s a tough question. I’m not sure of the answer but let’s make sure to ask Daddy later.”
- 4. Pray for insight. Ever since our faith conversation, I’ve been praying that God would give me the words and insights to show my kids what a true and honest faith in him looks like.
- 5. Model. While I am certainly not a perfect model of faith or godliness or anything for that matter, I work hard to show my kids what my personal faith looks like so that they, in turn, can start to gain an understanding of what faith looks like.
Question: How do you answer your kid’s tough questions?