Sometimes our children ask us questions that take us by surprise. And we either answer a different question or we give a vague answer such as, “It’s hard to understand.” or, “That’s just how it is.”, or, “We can talk about it later.”
We often hesitate because we are embarrassed by our answers, or because we are afraid of not giving an answer that is appropriate to the age and maturity of the child.
It can be useful to ask the child why he/she is asking the question. Sometimes they know why, but often, especially with very young children, the question just pops up from nowhere.
What’s important is that your child gets an answer from you. They will be given other possible answers in the future, but your answer will help them to decide what they think is true.
Whether you believe in the existence of God or not, you can get the question, “Why does God exist?”, or, “Why do you believe/not believe that God exists?”
A bit of advice to begin: don’t get lost in a mountain of explanations that are either too simple or too complex. What the child wants above all is to know that we actually have an answer.
Let’s come back to the question about God. A short answer is probably the best answer, because it will most likely be followed by a series of other questions from the child. We can decide when would be an appropriate time to continue the discussion and how deep we want to go.
But an answer such as yes, no, or I don’t know is not enough. We should give at least a short explanation.
Something like, “Yes, God exists because the Earth, the stars and the galaxies could not have just happened on their own. God created them all.”
Or, “I don’t know if God exists. Maybe he does.”
Or, “No, God doesn’t exist. Science has proved it!”
After giving your answer, it might be a good idea to ask your child, “Do you believe God exists?”
If your child has asked you this question, or you would like some ideas about how to reply to them, please feel free to contact us.
We will give you our answers and suggestions on how to think about them for yourself, and discuss them with God and your children.