I was leading the class I tutored. That day we were learning about a composer. I don’t remember which one it was that day, but we were listening to the music via CD while the kids drew what the music made them think of. When they were finished, each child who wanted to got up and showed his or her picture to the class, explaining what it was. The drawings were of things like ball room dancing and animals playing in the grass. My daughter was the last one to show her picture. She said, “It made me think of death.” We all looked up in shock, and more than one sucked in a breath. Faith showed her picture of a person lying in a casket and several family members standing around crying. Sometimes I don’t realize how deeply things affect my children.
In the last twelve months we have been to four funerals. We have lost a grandmother, a grandfather, an uncle and a close family friend. I also had a miscarriage, and I know that hit my children quite hard as well. So we have talked about death a lot. It is a frequent topic over meals and on our drives. They want to know if I’m going to die. Are they going to die? This has been a great opportunity to talk about these things because the truth is that we are all going to die. We just don’t know when. I tell them that I may live to be a hundred or I may die tomorrow, but that God is always faithful and that they need to trust Him and lean on Him when they are hurting.
I have seen parents make the mistake of telling their children that God is always going to take care of them, leading them to believe that nothing bad will ever happen to them. Then when horrible things do happen, (and inevitably they will), these children question everything they have ever believed about God. They question their parents: “You said God would take care of me.” God never promised us a life of constant ease. The Bible is full of examples of people who died because of their faith or that suffered for reasons that they did not understand (Job or Joseph). I need to prepare my children to be ready, to know where to turn when hard things happen.
Still, sometimes others don’t understand where my children are coming from. One of my girls told a classmate, “You’re going to die.” I can see how this would be disconcerting. The little girl went to her teacher in tears. The teacher handled it well, but I think she expected me to be shocked when she told me about it. Only after I explained our year of funerals and discussions did she understand that my daughter did not intend to be hurtful.
My job as a mom is an exciting yet a sobering one. I continue to strive to teach my children and to trust God with them.
My mother, who lived for seven good years after being diagnosed with cancer and told she had six months at the most to live, used to say, “Everybody is a terminal case, but most people just don’t realize it.”
Wow, you and your family have had a rough year! I am sorry to hear that. 🙁
I am more than good with me dying (to die is gain for me), but if I’m honest, I’m more like your kids…it’s that trusting God that I will still be good when someone I love dies that I struggle with.
You make an excellent point! Sophie is at the point where every nght she tells me that she needs me to keep her safe and that she wants to hold me forever. I have told her that Jesus loves her and will keep her safe – but thanks to you I need to go a bit further.
I hear you. Like Evan telling me I would die soon. I think things affect all children deeply. We as adults often learn to control our emotions, to bury what we’re feeling… Kids don’t have that. Which isn’t a bad thing necessarily.
You are so right! As parents it is our job to prepare our kids to deal with life, and all that life throws at us! We have had several opportunities to deal with death as well, including miscarriage, and most recently several pets. We’ve also been reading Foxes book of Martyrs, and several books by Voice of the Martyrs. We are trying to teach our kids that God loves them, but that everything must be done to HIS glory and sometimes he uses the “bad” things in our lives to help us glorify him! Life can be rough, we want our kids (and ourselves) to be able to praise God no matter what.
We don’t try to shield Miss Mack by making her think God will take care of us and nothing bad will happen, we simply explain that He is in control and He will decide when it’s time for all of us to live with Him. It never ceases to amaze me how kids process the information we give them!