Death is an awkward subject for most adults. Most of us don’t want to talk about it. We sort of operate on a daily basis not really dealing with the fact that any of us could die at any time. In the busy, superficial activities of the day we don’t usually stop to process the nearness of death.
I am raising 5 children who witnessed the death of their brother. So I don’t just have to process it, I have to talk about it. Every day. They need that.
Azaiah died on a Friday. Nine days later I felt like the kids of our church family needed to hear from me. I had taught these children in bible classes, nurtured their growth in the Lord, had them in my home to play, for dinner and sleep overs. I was someone they looked up to. They needed me to speak. So I did.
Some of them who also had little brothers were afraid their baby was going to die. Some of the kids were afraid they were going to die. Some were afraid of the devil. Some were afraid and just couldn’t put words to it. Some were curious. They wanted to know how Azaiah died. They wanted to know where his body was. They wanted to know where his soul was.
Kids need our openness and willingness to talk about death.
If you are fumbling or avoiding talking about death to your children, I hope this helps.
Be honest about death
Tell the children the truth in age appropriate terms. Never lie to children about death or the circumstances of a death. Some details may not be appropriate, but never lie. Answer their questions as best you can. This might require you to be honest with yourself first. Sometimes we don’t want to face our tragedy which makes facing it with our kids really hard.
Be honest about God
No where in the bible do we see an occasion that God “needed another angel” so he came to earth and killed someone. That might seem like a pleasant scenario at the moment to hush a child, but it is simply not the truth and it’s kind of sadistic.
The truth is much better. Angels are cool, but angels are actually created by God to worship him and to take care of us. Hebrews 1:14
God never wanted Azaiah to die. He didn’t want anyone to die. He created Adam and Eve to live in perfect fellowship with him with no death. He didn’t even want them to catch a cold! But it all went wrong when the devil came and tempted them. They sinned and sin is so bad that it makes people die.
But, Jesus is so strong and so powerful that even though that bad sin happened and death happened, Jesus fixed it! To fix it Jesus had to die too. But the amazing thing is, he didn’t stay dead. Have you ever heard of that? He came to life again. That means he makes us alive even when we die. Romans 5:12-21
Be honest about Heaven
Addie asked my mom if they could take her truck and get a car seat to bring Azaiah home from Heaven.
Well, once we die, we stay in heaven. We can’t go back and forth. 2 Samuel 12:23
But Heaven is so awesome Azaiah doesn’t want to leave. Jesus is getting it ready so we can all be there with him! It will be like the best day you have ever had, only better. John 14:2-4
When I talk about Azaiah, whether it is with my kids or church kids, I always try to hug them. I want them to have a tangible expression of God’s comfort to us. Things don’t seem so scary when we are wrapped in someone’s arms we trust. So talking about death comes with lots of hugs and snuggles. 2 Corinthians 1:4
If you have any strategies that help you talk to your kids about death I’d love to hear them. Just leave a comment below.