Recently my three-year-old turned four and it seemed like almost immediately she stopped taking information at face value. Such as the other day, while visiting her great mamma, she learned that her great papa is in Heaven.
It took about two days before we were in the car and it came out, “Mommy, can I go to Heaven to see mamma’s daddy?”
“It’s not that easy.”
“Well, when can I see mamma’s daddy?”
I bit my tongue for a second while I thought. Is she old enough to understand death? How do I explain this huge concept that I can’t even fully comprehend? Will this scare her? I responded, “Mamma’s Daddy is in Heaven with God. You can’t see him until you die and go to Heaven too.”
“How can I go to Heaven?”
“You are already saved and baptized. Those are the big things that Jesus wants you to do so now all you have to do is listen to what God tells you and do what He tells you. Then whenever you die, you can go be with God in Heaven.”
“Does God have a house?”
“Heaven is God’s house. Heaven’s just a fancy name for it.”
“When can I die?”
“Ummmmm, hopefully not for a long, long time. Mommy prays every night for all of you that you have very long healthy lives. Then you can go see all of the people in Heaven waiting for you.”
“I can’t wait to go to God.”
Face palm. That conversation became more epic than I had originally intended in just a few short questions. It does beg the question though, what does the Bible say about heaven and what can I teach my young child about it?
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV
As my in-laws would say, “That’s as clear as mud!”
This scripture is such a treasure to anyone of any age though. God, in His infinite glory and power, created a place for His people to stay with Him forever. That destination is so fabulous, so awe-inspiring that our finite flesh would pop like a balloon at the mere mention. Hallelujah! That’s what we have to look forward to in the midst of trials and temptations and Heaven is just the BONUS!
So what can we teach our children about Heaven if we ourselves can never understand it either? I believe this scripture inspires creativity, perspective and best of all, hope. We can also use it as a tool to teach our kids how good God is.
We can encourage our children to come up with their favorite things about this life such as sweets, sunshine, or friends. Then ask them to make it better by using their imaginations. Then push it to the limit such as an ice cream cone with 50 dips of ice cream with sprinkles, hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. Heaven is better than even that. If you have young children, this will soon turn into a game that your kids will love to play.
The more I encounter the “hard questions” with my oldest, the more I realize the best approach is the simplest, straightforward answer. With Heaven, there really is no simple answer but we can use their curiosity to give them a solid foundation of hope that will last the rest of their lives. No matter what our babies face in this life, Heaven is waiting and God is good.