Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions (Idaho Falls Library Call number – 230 FITZPATRICK)
“Helping them understand loss, sin, tragedies, and other hard topics”
Publisher – Bethany House Publishers: Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2014
Author(s) – Jessica Thompson and Elyse Fitzpatrick
Elyse is on a mission here in America to give the good news to weary women as is recently stated in a September interview with Marvin Olasky at Patrick Henry College.
With this book, she again joins up with her daughter, to center in on another topic that she is passionate about. Our children. Actually, it is her daughter, Jessica Thompson, who does most of the writing in the book. Elyse is a consult on some of the issues.
The tough questions they address are as follows:
- What Is Sin?
- Why Do People Die? (with discussion on suicide)
- Who Is Satan? What is Hell? (with discussion on demons and judgment)
- Why Do People Get Divorced? (with discussion on adultery and marriage to an unbeliever)
- Why Does the Bible Say That? Difficult Bible Stories (with discussion on doubt)
- Why and How Do Some People Sin Sexually? (with discussion on homosexuality, sexual abuse, and pornography)
- Why Does God Let Natural Disasters Happen?
- Why Do People Fight and Kill? (with discussion on violence in the home, war, and terrorism)
The book helps parents target three age groups: (1) preschool, (2) ages 5-10, and (3) ages 11 and up. None of the content is meant to be a simplistic script in the discussions with your children.
I think the authors provide good biblical assessment, humility and faith, and a thorough dependence upon grace that comes through the gospel of Jesus. In America’s culture today, you do not want to neglect, or even worse, deny your children the opportunities to ask questions on these topics. And whatever conversations we have with our kids, let us look to “the good news that should always be shared”, a fitting title for the last chapter of the book.
My favorite quote is almost in the center of the book, related to talking about difficult stories in the Bible.
“The Bible is not a book about the best people in all of history. The Bible is a true story about how our God used some of the worst people in history to make himself look amazing. The Bible isn’t just a book that tells you how to live and what you should and shouldn’t do. The reason we have the Bible is so we can learn about how perfect Jesus was and how much God loves his people. There are some really icky stories in the Bible. It is good they are there, because we know God loves even the worst of the worst people. His love and forgiveness are so big that he can take someone who has done something terrible and love them into his family. This really is good news because a lot of times both you and I do stuff that is pretty terrible, too. Some stories in the Bible are there to show us how great this love is and how strong and powerful God is. Some stories are in the Bible to show us how much people need a strong, wise, and loving God to come and rescue them. There are going to be things you don’t understand in the Bible, and that is okay. There are things I don’t understand, either. God doesn’t ask us to believe perfectly, he just asks us to have faith the size of a mustard seed. A mustard seed is very, very small. When we read or hear a story we don’t understand, we can just remember what we already know about God, and ask him to help us understand. The problem is that our minds are kind of tricky and sometimes we don’t think quite right, but God loves us through that, too” (p. 93).