Insights from experts on how to answer kids' toughest
You've heard it before: That question from a child that stops
you cold and leaves you searching for the right words to answer.
Kids grapple with tough questions every day-about their faith,
their relationships, their fears. Some of those questions can stump
even the Bible-savviest children's minister!
We pooled a team of Christian experts who know kids-and then
threw them some of the toughest questions kids ask. Here's their
candid advice about how to answer.
"Why does prayer sometimes work and sometimes
Teach kids the truth about prayer. It's not a "gimme"
list or bargaining chip or quick fix. Prayer is time spent talking
with and listening to God.
Every prayer isn't going to get the answer we want on earth. We
won't be able to see some of the prayers working in our lives until
Prayer isn't like a Christian rabbit's foot-rub it and get your
wish. Prayer is communication with God who sees the big picture in
our lives. Sometimes we don't get the answer we want because God
knows it wouldn't be good for us. Other times people who aren't
following Jesus do things that affect us. God won't make them do
right things. Everyone has the free will to make bad choices, even
if we pray that they won't. But we know Jesus is always with us
when we walk through difficult, hard, or hurtful places.
It can be frustrating when God feels silent, like he's not
Imagine walking up to an elevator and pushing the "up" button.
After one minute, the average person gets impatient if the door
doesn't open. Three minutes seems like forever. Prayer can feel
that way. Often we don't just want God to answer our prayers, we
want them answered now. God does open the best doors to the best
places, but in his time.
We must be careful what we teach kids about prayer. To talk
about prayer "working" makes it into a pragmatic and sometimes quid
pro quo exercise. Teach kids about all aspects of prayer, not just
intercession and petition.
"Is it okay to lie if the truth will hurt someone's
There really are absolute truths! Exodus 20:16 tells us not to
lie. It doesn't say, "Do not lie, unless..." Teach your kids to
speak the truth in love and to trust God when it comes to doing the
right thing. -Kandi Elliott
It's always better to deal with a specific situation than to
give a general answer to a general question. If we paint too
broadly, we don't really help where the 'rub' is. Kids don't need
platitudes; they need real help for real tough situations.
God tells us we're not supposed to lie. Sure, we don't want to
hurt people, but the truth is if you truly love and care for
someone, there's a way to tell the truth.
As a rule, lying is wrong. However, sometimes we tell the
hurtful truth when we could just not say anything, or say something
truthful that doesn't hurt. "Those jeans make you look really fat"
is better not said. How about, "That shirt is your color for
What a great thing when a child is afraid to hurt a friend's
feelings! Celebrate the child for being a great friend-and tell the
child that part of being a great friend means telling the truth,
even when it's difficult. -Amy Dolan