guess I should have seen it coming. My daughter, Madison,
has never been a child just to accept things at face value.
She wants answers and explanations for everything. Even worse,
she wants answers that make sense.
It all started last Easter when we were attending
Holy Week services and Easter Mass. During the readings I
could see the look of confusion on Madison’s face.
So it really was no surprise when over dinner
one night she said, “Mom, remember how you told me that, when
someone dies, their spirit goes to heaven but they can never
come back and be like me and you again?”
“Yes,” I replied, afraid of where this line of
questioning was heading.
“So what’s the deal with Jesus? I thought you
said he died. So how could he come back to life on Easter?”
I quickly looked to my husband, Mark, for help.
He promptly offered to clear the table.
And when I told my sister that I was tackling
this topic, she told me that her daughter, Rosie, had recently
asked her about the crucifix in front of their church.
“If Jesus isn’t dead anymore, when are they going
to take him down off of that thing?”
Obviously, I’m not the only parent dealing with
But Confusing Time
Holy Week and Easter Sunday are very important
times in the life of the Church. They signify our basic beliefs
They are also very challenging and potentially
confusing times for children—and sometimes even adults. The
story of Christ’s death alone is enough to give most children
But that doesn’t mean we should avoid these topics.
As hard as it is, this is the exact situation we signed up
for when we said yes to having children, had them baptized
and promised to raise them in the Catholic faith. Easter provides
too important a message not to address it with our children.
the Tough Issues
As I said before, I struggle with this issue
as much as any other parent. So, in attempting to figure this
out for myself, I have culled a few tips from others. Here
Read the Easter story from the Bible. Take note
of any questions your child has. Try to address them as best
and honestly as you can.
Explain that when Jesus came back it was not
in the same form as you and I. That may have been why some
of his disciples didn’t recognize him at first. One example
a priest friend gave me was that a baby grows in the mother’s
womb for nine months. Once the baby is born, it cannot return
to the womb because he or she has moved on to a different
Ask for help. If you don’t feel that you can answer your
child’s questions, consider getting input from others, such
as your parish priest.
Focus on the positive. Point out that by dying on
the cross Jesus showed us how much he really loves us. You
might want to explain this in terms your child can grasp,
such as, “You know how much Mommy and Daddy love you. Well,
Jesus loves you that much—and more.”
Let your child lead the discussion. If my husband
and I have learned one thing the hard way, it’s not to put
any ideas in Madison’s head that aren’t already there. Wait
for your child to ask about something before addressing the
The bottom line is: You know your child best
and what he or she can handle. Let that be your guide in dealing
with this season’s difficult topics.
Perhaps you’ve got some of your own tips that
may help. If so, send them to me. I’d love to read them and
try them out!
Next Month: What's the Big Deal About Lying?