My youngest granddaughter looked up at me between bites of pizza and asked: “Who’s Jesus, Grams?” followed by, “Can I see him? Can I talk to him?”
The Apostle Paul did say we should always be ready to give an answer for our faith, right? But when I read that passage I never thought about the Littles in my life asking those faith-based questions.
This recent conversation brought me back to this article I posted two years ago for when Littles ask big questions:
Enjoying the backyard sunshine, my granddaughter asked a big question. “What’s heaven like, Grams?”
The question didn’t surprise me. She likes asking those big questions—the ones that make you flinch, test your heart rate and dig deep into your heart and Bible knowledge. But, what took me off guard (and it shouldn’t have) was the setting in which she asked it—just a relaxing-in-the-sunshine kind o’ day. That’s how kids roll, though. They ask the hard questions when they’re most relaxed, feeling safe in their surroundings and around those they love and trust.
So I rolled with it, too, as honestly as I could not having visited heaven just yet and based upon what Scripture says. Fishing for a deeper, hidden question I asked her why she wanted to know. Instead of answering my question she offered her own opinion of what heaven looks like. “Heaven’s like a big house with lots of rooms, but no walls; no front or back walls.” Then she asked, “Will we see our pets in heaven or the people who’ve already died?”
Ah, there it was—the hidden question—Will I see my pets and relatives that have already died? Because, I miss them. I simply replied, “Yes, you will see your relatives that loved Jesus.” And the question about pets? Well, since Scripture doesn’t say much about animals, I simply offered my opinion. “If God created animals for us to love on earth, maybe there will be animals for us to love in heaven, too.”
Satisfied with that answer, she quickly changed the subject. “Why are daddies supposed to be the head of the family?”
Yup! She’s a thinker, all right! And maybe you’ve encountered a few of those, too. It’s okay. They’re normal and as adults, we should welcome their BIG questions even if we don’t know the answers to them all. It’s part of learning their place in a big, big world; about growing their faith and helping them cope with life’s toughest lessons.
Here’s four suggestions in how to handle those big questions:
1. Be brave. If they ask a question that makes you uneasy, remember they’re mostly trying to make 2 + 2 = 4 in their little universe. They want to know how things work and haven’t yet mastered the art of abstract thinking.’
2. Be honest. If you don’t have the answers, admit it. If they’re adamant about knowing the answer, research the answer together.
3. Be aware. Sometimes their big questions reveal a bigger question. Ask why they’re curious. Be aware of their personal situation and recent experiences like a birth or death in the family or a school experience.
4. Be cautious. If the child is not your own child or grandchild, be cautious with your answers. If it’s a question about faith, family lifestyle or the like, consider referring them to their parents for the answers.
Here’s to all those Littles with curious minds and all the Bigs who attempt to answer their BIG questions.