Apr 14, 2011

When Kids Ask Tough Questions...

Kids can ask some deep questions, can't they? In the last few weeks, I've had several parents come to me and say, "Help...my child is asking questions I don't have answers for." If you are a parent or work with kids, I am sure you can identify.

So...what do you do when kids ask those deep, tough, theologically challenging questions? Here's some tips when answering kid's questions or giving advice to a parent on how to do so.
  • Remember it's natural for kids to ask questions. Some kids may ask deeper questions than others depending on their personality and IQ level. 
  • Affirm the child for asking the question. Don't accuse them of "doubting" or "having a lack of faith."
  • Let them know it's okay to ask "Why?" Jesus asked "why?" on the cross.
  • Acknowledge that it's good for kids to ask questions. It means they are truly seeking answers and trying to own their faith. 
  • Seize the opportunity to go with them to the Bible for the answers. What a great opportunity to point them to God's Word and discover truth together.
  • Remember that normally kids 7 1/2 years and under think concretely, not abstractly.
  • Many times the questions will come at a time of tragedy or uncertainty such as a death of someone close, a natural disaster, family turmoil, or a life transition. Use the questions during this time as a teachable moment. And remember, sometimes the best answer in these situations is to just be there.
  • Remember you don't have to know it all. It's okay to say "I don't know."
 Here's a funny video to illustrate this tip:


What are some of the deepest, funniest questions kids have asked you?
What are some tips you can share about answering kids' tough questions?

Would enjoy seeing your thoughts, stories, and input on answering kid's questions.


Posted by Dale Hudson

7 comments:

Oh my goodness. That video is hysterical! Where did it come from? I love the fact that kids are so honest... no filter! I was recently let go by a church because the pastor and I had very different leadership styles and philosophies and when I later saw the pastor's 6 year old daughter at a wedding, she shouted for all in earshot... "Hey my dad fired you!" The adults standing nearby didn't know whether to laugh or cry!

I got it from Youtube. That's so funny about her saying that at the wedding. Kids don't have that filter that adults have many times, do they.

Best tip I like to use...when they ask something, first ask them 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?'...it gives you an insight into their perspective and there is always something you can affirm in their thoughts and then perhaps clarify, or re-direct together. It also then supports more of a dialogue, rather than 'them' having questions and 'us' having answers.

Great insight Dorothy. You are so right. Thanks for sharing.

Once I was teaching a group of 5 and 6 year olds and I asked them what they could do to get closer to God and one of them responded, kill yourself. I was quite surprised by his answer, but my response that it is not right to do that. But those kids wanted to know why it wasn't right and I had to quickly think of an answer they would understand. I replied- God has a plan and a purpose for your life and if you were to end it, then you would never know what He had planned for you. Then they all understood and moved on. Hardest question I've ever had by kids that age! And something you are never trained for. Thankfully, God answered my prayer quickly and gave me the words to say that day! : )

The video is from a brilliant BBC programme called "Outnumbered". There have been 2 series so far, but I guess it probably hasn't made it over to the States. Another wonderful clip is when the little girl (Karen) buries her pet mouse (viewable at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxnJCJkBEZ0). We've used various clips from the programmes in all-age services over the past few years.

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