A Parent’s Biggest Fear

Written by Joe Schafer

I am a parent of a six-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy. I don’t want to brag, but they think I am awesome! To them, I have “superhero status.” They think I can do anything. In fact, when I tell them that there is something that I cannot do, they sometimes can’t understand.

This phase of parenting is so much fun! I fully realize that this will not last forever, but I am going to enjoy it as long as I can. Eventually my kids will realize that I do have limitations.

What do I do when my biggest fear becomes a reality? If you are like me, it seems like the “superhero status” can end with a single question. What happens when your child asks you a question that you can’t answer?

Of course the most feared question by parents of young kids is “Where do babies come from?” but lets save that one for another time. What about questions about God. You do your best to teach your kids about God and help them develop good spiritual habits. What happens when they ask you a question about God that you cannot answer. Here are a couple questions that I have been asked by my kids or other kids.

  • Will my dog be in heaven…….. and my Xbox?
  • Can God make a rock bigger than he can lift?
  • Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?

At least the first question is a bit tricky to answer. Since I interact with hundreds of kids each week at church and I have my two kids at home, I had to figure out how to appropriately answer these questions. Here is what I often try to do.

STEP #1- Ask another question to understand why they are asking.
STEP #2- Determine what they need in your answer.
STEP #3- Answer their question in a way that fills their need.

Lets look at the first question with this process.

CHILD- Will my dog be in heaven…….. and my Xbox?
PARENT- What do you think?
CHILD- I don’t know, but if my dog is not in heaven, I would be really sad and I don’t think I want to go there.
PARENT- The Bible talks about heaven as the most amazing place that you could ever imagine. I don’t know exactly what it is like. What do you think the most amazing place you could imagine would be like?
CHILD- (Allow them to use their imagination and answer the question.)
PARENT- The way the Bible describes heaven is a place with no tears or pain, what you describes sounds like that kind of place, so I think it might be just like that.

This child just wanted to have his/her fears addressed. He/she was afraid and needed comfort. You will need to answer in a way that brings comfort. A simple yes or no, often does not give a child what he/she needs. I have found that kids often need to talk through their own thoughts, and you can quickly get to the reasons they are asking such hard questions. After you figure out the reason they are asking, answering the question is much easier.

Joe Schafer
has been married to Rachael for 13 years and has two kids. He has been serving in children’s and youth ministry for 14 years at Allison Park Church.