When I was eight years old, my great grandpa died. Whether it was because we were just kids or everyone was busy getting ready for the funeral, I don’t remember anyone telling my brother and me what this “death” thing was. When I walked into the church and saw my grandpa’s body laying in the casket, I was calm on the outside. Inside I was freaking out. It gave me nightmares.
Death comes up all the time—in the Bible, on the news, in everyday life. But what is death? How do you explain it? What we say, or don’t, can take away some of the scariness surrounding death AND help kids understand. So…
Yesterday I made a last-minute FB video about how to talk to your kids about death. YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE. If you want to do something similar with your own kids, here’s all you’ll need (and I included a few details here you won’t find on the video)
I like to use a puppet to explain how God made us.
[Draw a smiley face on your hand and then slip your hand inside a puppet person. An animal puppet won’t work for this. Point out the puppet’s nose, eyes, floppy arms.] Say…
Everyone has a body. We have a nose and eyes and arms. These are all parts of our body.
What other parts can you think of?
Besides your body though there’s something special that makes you you. It’s the part inside you called a soul and that means…
- what you DECIDE to do, like whether you’ll have a chocolate chip cookie or an oatmeal cookie for dessert (will),
- how you FEEL, about winning a baseball game or losing your favorite pair of tennis shoes (emotions),
- what you THINK, like, “Hmm, I wonder what kind of animals we’ll see at the zoo today.” (mind)
God also put a spirit inside each person so we could have a relationship with God. Animals might be able to think and feel and decide, but they don’t have a spirit. Just people do.
When someone who loves Jesus dies, the soul and spirit leave the body [slip your hand out of the puppet here]. That person doesn’t move or breathe or see. But their soul and spirit, the part that makes them people, is still alive and with Jesus (John 5:28-29).
When Jesus comes back someday, he’ll give those who believe in him new life and perfect bodies. [slip your hand back in to the puppet] The bodies might look different but they’ll be perfect, raised up just like his own body was resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 51-52)….
Exactly the way he always meant for it to be!