No matter what age our kids are, it doesn’t take long for them to ask questions that arise from the culture around us! We cannot hide them from the devastating effects of sin and brokenness.
So today, I invite you peek in on conversations I’ve had with our girls. Our challenge is to be the the kind of Christ-followers who love and interact with people who are different from us (Jesus did this!) while having discerning hearts that honor God. Truth and love are hard to live out!
A couple of guiding values for our parenting are creating an environment where our girls can’t help but meet Jesus, and engaging life out of a biblical worldview.
I remember a conversation the girls in the car spurred on by the question, “Mom, why do some people believe in evolution?” The starting point for my answer was, “When people reject God, they go their own way,” following by, “If God didn’t create the world and us, then we have to find other explanations.”
These topics vary greatly, and they change over time as our kids experience more of life:
Why do other kids use swear words and say things we don’t?
Why are some girls at school trying so hard to look perfect and be popular?
What is abortion?
We can easily add to the list of hard topics.
Even if we try, we can’t hide our kids away from the world. We can avoid bringing up a topic until they ask. I certainly wasn’t in a hurry for them to know abortion or prostitution exist! We want to protect our children’s hearts when we can.
The topics will come up over time. And this is okay, because we want to help our children grow their faith to be able to think and engage with the world around them. When we talk about things in simple, honest, age-appropriate ways they can handle it. My response to Ellie in kindergarten was much simpler than it would be now, as a teen!
Our goal is for them to be wise and strong Christ-followers who are lights in the world – not naive and unprepared because they have been overly protected.
Here’s a simple conversation starter that I typically begin my answer to their questions with:
“When people reject God and His ways, they create their own answers and ways of living.”
“When we turn from God and go our own way, it doesn’t work. It’s not how God created us to live. And it typically takes us farther than we would ever have thought it would.”
This conversation starter can lead into more detail about the gospel, depending on the topic and age of your child:
We’re each tempted to turn away from God and live our own way. When we do, the first steps tend to look good, but sin takes us farther than we ever intended to go in the first place.
We are more like other people than different. We all need God’s love in our lives, and we all need to obey Him. We all sin, and we all need the forgiveness that Jesus offers. We all have good in us, the part of us created in the image of God; and we all have weakness and sin, meaning we all need Jesus. These things are the same, but the difference is what we do with the love and forgiveness God has offered us.
To continue the conversation, we can ask our kids: How did God create us to live? What is the end result of that choice? Can you see what isn’t working for that person? How can we love them?
What does it mean to love people? When we love someone, we want the best for them. We respect them and care about them as a person. And, if there is something in their life that isn’t good for them, we don’t accept it as okay. Because love only seeks what is good.
This conversation starter creates an opportunity to teach our kids a loving attitude toward people. We want to be sure we model in this attitude in daily life as well! We don’t judge others or make fun or them or think we’re better than them. When we judge others, we claim to know their heart and their end state – and only God knows this. But, we do need to teach our children about where our choices and sin can take us, and talk honestly about it.
The consistency and simplicity of this conversation starter helps us teach our children in a way that sticks! This basic message can be applied to most any topic that deviates from a biblical worldview. Repeating a basic message makes it easier to learn.
These conversations helps our kids develop a biblical worldview and see how the gospel relates to daily life. From this basic biblical foundation, we can add on conversation about the character God wants for us, Bible verses, or more specific discussion about that topic.
Here’s a couple relevant passages we can talk about with our kids:
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. ~Romans 1:20-21
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. ~Proverbs 3:5-7
What has worked for you when talking about hard topics with your kids?
What questions do you have? Is there a topic you want ideas for talking about with your kids? If so, please comment below or send me a message!
Kathryn Featherstone is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and a board-certified Christian Life Coach. Write her a note if this post resonates with you, or you would like to learn more about being coached.