What every parent needs to have spiritual conversations is an understanding that our job is to distill truth and not simplifying truth. The temptation we have when talking about spiritual things with our kids is we lean toward simplifying ideas for them and not distilling truth behind those ideas.
Let me explain I have always loved science I never did so good in math but science I did very well in. When you simplify something in science or in nature what you do is you add stuff to dilute the base. You pour in water to a concentrated drink to dilute and simplify. The result is a watered down diluted product. When you distill something you cook out what is not essential and you leave only the things that are heavy in a small more concentrated form.
When I started as a children’s pastor parents would often come up to me and beg me to decry the evils of Pokémon and Harry Potter. I remember when the reality of how overwhelming keeping up with all the things that try to distract and displace the affections of a kid is exhausting. I quickly realized that my job as a children’s pastor is not to address every evil but to use the small window of time I have to paint a picture of Jesus that is so attractive everything else pales in comparison.
When kids ask you a question give them an answer. If they understand enough to ask tough questions than chances are that they are old enough to hear tough answers.
I love technology. The leaps we have made in the past 30 years are astounding. I remember as a ten-year-old being my families first remote control. As my family was sitting on the couch the kids would take turns either turning the sound up or changing the channel. We didn’t have remote controllers for our TV’s but we also didn’t have the internet. As a result, there were many things we just didn’t know. In some ways looking back, ignorance really was bliss. As an adult, I can remember back to being a child and my mom just making up answers to questions I asked that she either didn’t know the answer to or felt the answer was beyond what I should know at the time. Today we don’t have that luxury. Technology has changed everything.
If we tell our kids half-truths they will find out once they discover the half-truths we have used to deflect or delay from tough conversations our kids will begin to wonder which half of everything we say is untrue. When you answer a question with age-appropriate directness you remove the power of curiosity. Kids have always been curious about the only things that have changed is the internet allows our kids to not only satisfy any curiosity but it feeds their curiosity.
Every parent needs to invest in filtering and using parent safety procedures most technology provides. The first line of defense is not those things it’s honest answers to tough questions. Kids have no lack of resources to satisfy their curiosity without you. It is our job as parents to know our kids enough to know what their questions are and be prepared so that when they ask we are ready to give them the answer that is based on a biblical worldview. This is huge because every answer kid gets from the questions they ask help to form their worldview. What our kids need more than their curiosity satiated they need to understand how to see the world through the lens of the gospel. Our worldview informs every question we ask and every answer we give. You might be saying right now I don’t have a worldview, I would say you do and If you don’t think you do you are in trouble because the lens in which we view the world both defines and informs our loves.