“So Mom, do you think there’s a hell?”

Passing along spirituality to others can be fraught with many pitfalls and misconceptions. We must never try to force or convince, yet must still be open to those who are curious and seeking– especially when the seekers are the children in our lives.

Notice the approach this parent chooses with her preteen.

Recognizing spiritual development is an ongoing process, here’s a story about how one mom handled a difficult question from her 12-year-old. Your answer, and any alternative viewpoints you cite, might have been different, as you’d be speaking from your own beliefs.

12yearold boy1“So Mom, do you think there’s a hell?”

The question came out of nowhere, as far as I could tell. We had a movie on and it was paused for a bathroom break. This is when my son decides to ask me about hell.

Convey God’s love in response to a child’s questions

parkI’m not the first one to notice the earnest way children talk about and ask about God. They are curious. After all, they can hear about God almost every day. On the playground, at the park, at the zoo, basically anywhere people are talking:    Oh my God.    Oh God, no!    Goddammit!    I swear to God….

They are curious about this. Children want to talk about and ask about God.

Who is God? Why can’t I see God? Where does God live and is his mom there? How old is God? Is God a person? Was God born from an Easter egg?

When kids ask “Is there a Santa Claus?”

The question pops up in some families with young children. Here’s a summary of my favorite approach to answering many questions asked by children:

  • Some people think X
  • Some people think Y
  • Some people think Z
  • [optional] I think Z because___
  • What do you think?

Here is how this approach plays out with Santa Claus.

There are many opinions on this subject. Below are quotes from children about whether Santa is real, courtesy of Answers.com,  and in general they can be broken down into three categories.

679182_18890559 Santa at homeThe first group of children says that Santa Claus is real

He wears a red suit, and he lives at the North Pole, making presents for kids and delivering them all over the world on Christmas Eve in his sleigh.