My middle son asked the same question for an entire year: how do I know God is real? You might expect this question from a teenager, but this kid was 4 years old.
Do your kids ask questions?
Mine don’t so much as ask questions as make very random statements that they think are fact. Like “God is like a street sweeper” or “You can never run away from God…or blankie.” Or this one keeper: “I can tell you the whole Bible in 3 words: God loves you.” Now, these are awesome and cute sayings from small children who are completely confident in their faith.
But what about when your 4 turns to you and says “how do you know God is real? I can’t see him?” Or when your 12-year-old asks if Jesus really existed?
The worst thing we can do as parents is to jump into a lecture when our kids ask questions. Why shouldn’t I jump into a lecture? Because lectures turn everyone off.
What people (including kids) like, is to be engaged. The best way to do this is through dialogue and imagination, not a lecture.
One of the tools I am learning to use when one of my kids asks a question is to ask a question back. I just say, “what do you think?” This is a great way of drawing them into a conversation instead of shutting them down with a pat answer. This habit is going to be especially helpful when they get older and don’t naturally want to talk. If they know their questions are going to be heard and that I’m not going to get defensive about my faith, they’ll be a lot more likely to ask them.
Our kids need to have an open place to ask questions.
That starts in early childhood!
Last year I found the cutest little book of questions for preschoolers. It’s called “Does God take naps?”, by bestselling children’s author Crystal Bowman and her daughter, Teri McKinley. When I first brought it home, my little guy made me read it to him over and over again. He knew it so well that he would answer the questions before I could read the text!
This book is such a fun way to introduce little ones to theological concepts and to the essential learning tool of asking questions. The answers are cute, non-threatening, and wise. Many books attempt to teach theological concepts to young kids and fail miserably because they use abstract ideas. But this book is perfect for little ones because it uses questions a little person would actually wonder about. Like this one:
“Does God like eating pizza or maybe mac and cheese?
Does God eat all his vegetables, like brussels sprouts and peas?”
I also love that the rhymes and ideas fit together, instead of many other rhyming books where you can tell the author had a rhyme word in mind and tried to force the idea to fit the word. Crystal’s rhyming is effortless and kid-friendly.
You can find this book, “Does God Take Naps” by Crystal Bowman and Teri Mckinley on Amazon or at your local library!
If you love the books I suggest, you can download my free list of the 10 best Christian picture books right here. Here’s what a reader has to say about this list:
If he loves it, I bet you will too!