When it comes to asking tough and sometimes comical theological questions, nothing comes close to an inquisitive child.
I should know. My oldest son, who is 6, currently is the reigning world champion in the “asking tough questions” competition, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Take a recent dinner table discussion, for instance. His cup had pictures of superheroes, and he asked with a serious look on his face: Does God hate the Incredible Hulk? (No, I told him, God loves all people, and besides, the Incredible Hulk isn’t real, anyway, and just because the Incredible Hulk has a mean look on that cup doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy.)
Then there’s the constant question he asks when we discuss heaven: Will his favorite stuffed animal – the one he sleeps with every night — be in heaven? The problem: If I say “no,” heaven isn’t looking so grand to him. He once cried when I told him “no.” (My latest stab at that for him was more of a non-answer. I asked with a smile, “Do you want him to be in heaven?” He said “yes,” and we moved on. I do tell him that I believe dinosaurs will be in heaven – which excites him.)
Children’s storybook Bibles are plentiful, but children’s theology books? Not so much. I have found two that I really like, although I am certain there are others out there. Know of others? Let me know in the comments section.
Each night, before I put my 1-year-old daughter Maggie or her twin brother William to bed, I ask them simply, “Who made you?” They’re usually their sweetest at these moments, and they often smile while pointing heavenward and shouting in a tiny voice, “God!”
I’ve always been amazed at how quickly small children learn, even though they’re barely – if at all — talking. At 19 months Maggie learned the color yellow and was telling her surprised grandma about her beautiful “yella” dress. I’m pretty sure William knows the color “blue,” but he’s usually too rambunctious for me to stop and quiz him.
Scripture tells parents to teach their children about the Lord from an early age and to talk about Him throughout the day (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). But how do we do that when young children can’t even talk, when their attention span lasts mere seconds?
Isn’t it too early to teach them about spiritual concepts? In one, word, “no.”
We often hear that children are like “sponges.” Let them soak up God’s Word – no matter the age. Start with the “complex” subjects, and the simple ones, too. We teach our 1 year olds about Christ’s death, burial and resurrections, but we also teach them more basic concepts – for instance, simply that God made them.