By Melinda Shunk
Children's Ministry Coordinator
Hopefully, you have had a thoughtful Lenten season with your family. As Holy Week and Easter quickly approach, adults who have children in their life may receive some questions from children that cause them to pause before answering. Jesus’ death and resurrection can create some pretty big questions for anyone.
Before I share some question scenarios with you, I want to remind you of the number one response to a child after asking a question. “Well, what do you think?” should always be the first response to most questions a child asks. That adult response has the three-fold benefit. First, it requires them to think harder about what they asked. Second, it is also showing them respect. You are respecting them by wanting to hear what they have to say.
But most importantly, it tells you what they already know! When you understand what they know or the source of their questions, you, as the adult, are better equipped to answer appropriately. The information they give you with their reply can help you gauge the age-appropriate answer and amount of details.
So let’s apply this to questions about Good Friday and Easter. I have prepared some common questions I have received from children over the years about Holy Week and Easter:
Child: Why do they call Good Friday good?
Adult: Why do you think they call Good Friday good?
Child: I don’t think Jesus dying is good. Dying is sad.
Adult: You are correct; dying is sad. What happened to Jesus was terrible. However, the people who wrote the stories of Jesus’s dying wrote them after Jesus’s resurrection on Easter, so the writer knew that when Jesus died, although it was sad, it brought us to Easter, which was good.
Child: Why did Jesus die?
Adult: Why do you think Jesus died?
Child: I think there were some mean people.
Adult: You are right; there were several groups of mean people. Those people were mean because they thought Jesus was a threat to their leadership. They said untrue things about Jesus. They lied to get Jesus in trouble with the government. Those jealous lies caused Jesus to be arrested and put to death.
Child: Why is Jesus’s resurrection a big deal?
Adult: Why do you think Jesus’s resurrection was so special?
Child: Well, I have read stories about Jesus healing the sick and bringing people who have died back to life. I don’t understand why the disciples were so surprised that he came back. He said he would come back.
Adult: You are right; he did heal others from death, and they went on to live old age and then die. Jesus’ resurrection was three days after he had died, and then he had a special visit with many of his disciples. Then they watched him return to heaven alive to always live with God. That is different than any of the miracles you read.
Did you note that you can take what they answered and add a little more to it? You may have a child that presses the answer you gave—repeat, asking them what they think and continue to add more details. More times than not, the facts are all they need. Don’t get into extensive long-winded explanations about sacrifice and the sin of the world with younger children right now. Young children need the facts, and as they grow, their faith develops.