Sunday, April 7, 2013

Avoiding the Tough Questions

"Mom, what's Easter about?" Bear asked me one day a few weeks ago, without so much as looking up from what he was doing.

"Wha...huh? Em...uh...well...that's a really good question, Bear," I stammered, totally taken aback and also really impressed.

The problem was that I had no idea how to answer that question. I mean, I knew what the answer was, I just wasn't sure how to share that information with Bear without traumatizing him. Although we're a Christian family, Bear's issues have pretty much prevented us from attending church on a regular basis...or a semi-regular basis...or at all...so he hasn't been exposed to the darker side of the Christian story. Sure, I talk to Bear about God, but it's more the warm and fuzzy stuff.

I could just see how this would go...

"Well, Bear, you see, a very long time ago, Jesus -- you remember me telling you about him, right? -- and you've learned about him at school, right? -- you know, Jesus? (insert French accent because Bear goes to a French school) -- well, he's God's son. And there were a bunch of really bad men who didn't like him, so they decided to punish him and kill him. What? How did they kill him? Um...well...it's not very nice, but back then they nailed people to a really big cross, and they died there. Oh, don't look like that, Bear! It's OK, cause God knew it was going to happen. In fact, He planned it. Why did He plan it? Um...well...that's another really good question. No, you're right, it doesn't sound very nice. No, it doesn't make him sound like a very good father. But back then people had to sacrifice a lamb to get God's forgiveness for their sins. What does sacrifice mean? Um...well...they took the lamb and..."

You get the point. I just didn't see this ending well. So I pretty much took the coward's way out.

"At Easter we celebrate God and Jesus," I told him. Short and sweet.

"Oh, like a birthday?" he asked.

"Nope, Christmas is Jesus' birthday. At Easter we just...um...celebrate them."

"Oh, OK."

Then it occurred to me that surely they're teaching him about Easter at school. It was the week before Easter and Bear goes to a Catholic school. Surely they've figured out how to talk to a 7 year old about Easter.

"What are they teaching you about Easter at school, Bud?" I asked.

"Huh?" he asked, looking up from his game. "Uh...um...I don't know," he said, looking back down.

Obviously they hadn't said anything too traumatizing, so I let the subject drop. OK, then...let's just leave it there and be happy we got off easy this time.

2 comments:

  1. LOL! You could come to my church! We have lots of kids with issues, including mine. Pretty much anything goes at my church.

    I'm curious about your experience in a French school. My son goes to public school, but in the French Immersion track. It's his last year of immersion and, looking back, one of the worst decisions I've ever made. What has your experience been.

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  2. The tough questions won't stop coming. I know... I have teenagers! ;) lol They're the questions we don't want to answer, or that don't have simple answers.

    I know Bear is an active young boy who has an active imagination and who can run away with it at a mere suggestion. I also have triggers that can send me into a panic. Explaining Easter can be easy though.

    As adults we know the gruesomeness of the story. It can be pretty horrific. As parents we need to explain the story without horrifying our children. When my girls were younger, I explained it to them simply. Easter is the celebration of Jesus not being dead anymore and that's very special. Because Jesus lived a very long time ago, you can let him believe he died of old age. If he asks more questions, you could talk in terms he'd understand - like bullies (pharisees & romans)and friends who were scared of the bullies.

    No need to "bore" him with the details of the who did what, when, where and why of it. ;) You're right though... If he's going to a Catholic school, they'll give him the details there in terms that are at least age appropriate. He's likely even seen a crucifix or two, without realizing that it's related to Easter. All that you need to do is share with him what it means to you.

    Hope that helps!

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