The other night, while sitting together in the living room as a family, my 4 year old boy blurted out of nowhere, "Jesus died on a board, then he was buried." This statement surprised me. Alas, it did not end there, and was surely followed with, "And then what happened mommy?"
My first reaction was to look at his father's face, perhaps thinking I might see his jaw on the floor. This was not the case. Daddy has a knack for taking things in at face value and not reading too much into them. Bless him for his simplicity!
And so I feel that I am at a Crossroads, where I need to begin educating my children about spirituality....and for me, I feel comfortable teaching them these concepts through religion.
I immediately knew why he has proclaimed that Jesus had died. You see, we had an opportunity to visit a Catholic church for mass last week, and there on the walls right next to our pew, were several religious paintings depicting the Crucifixion. My boy is a very curious creature, and has a love for all things dark and morbid (his favorite movie is Nightmare Before Christmas, and frequently begs to rent horror films like The Mummy). Do not be alarmed...we do not let him watch horror movies, but if he could, he would.
As of late, this little man is contemplating death frequently. He does not appear to be frightened by death, mostly curious. It may have started as innocently as , please do not step on the rolly polly, you will squish him and he will die. Or, please do not pull the flowers off of the plants, they will die. We have also been watching The Crocodile Hunter, and so he sees animals eating other animals and "skeleton bones" as he calls them. There are times when he may ask, "do people die, do babies die, do daddy's die?"
These questions deserve an answer, and I strive to be honest with my children at all times without providing information that may frighten them. My beautiful boy, trying to wrap his head around living and dying....so it brings me back to spirituality and religion...
It is important to me that my children know that there is a greater force working in the world, that they do not need to be frightened, because they are never alone. I want them to believe in God and trust that God is with them, in their little hearts...always....that the world is an imperfect place, but that God's love is perfect if they carry him on their journey.
And well, then there's the topic of religion.......so my boy's question...."And then what happened?" I don't feel equipped to explain the Resurrection of Jesus to my child.
I spent most of my life having no faith at all in the concept of a higher power, but am easily comforted by the possibility that this is not true. I have grabbed on to God.....to Christianity, like a life preserver in a stormy sea....
I'm thinking sooner rather than later you will find us back at All Saints on Sundays. I have the utmost faith that their children's ministry can answer my boy's most burning question to date....."and then what happened?"