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Faces on Faith: Talking with children about God

July 18, 2018
By RABBI STEPHEN LEWIS FUCHS , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Grandma and saba (Hebrew for "grandfather") were staying with Flora and Logan while mommy and daddy were out. Flora just turned 4 years old.

While grandma was putting Logan to bed, Flora and saba were sitting at the table while she finished her dinner.

"Saba," Flora asked. "How did God make the world?"

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Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs

"I don't know how God made the world," I answered. "That is why I pray to God, because there is so much about God we don't know."

"Although I don't know how God made the world," I continued. "I think I know why: so that all of us will try to make the world a good and kind place for everyone to live."

"I think God made the world," Flora answered, "with lots of paper and tape. Then God made the tape really strong, really, really strong so that everyone can stand on it."

"That's an interesting idea."

"Saba, why did your mommy die?"

"She died because her body was old and worn out."

"Tell me the whole story of how your mommy died."

"Well, she lived for a long time in New Jersey, and then grandma and I wanted her to live closer to us in Connecticut. So we brought her there to live. She was happy there, but one day she fell, and then she got sick. We thought she was getting better, but her body was just too frail, and so she died. We were very sad. She was very nice, good and kind, and that is why we were so happy when mommy and daddy named you after her."

"Was God ever a little boy?"

"No Flora, God is not a person. God is an invisible force in each of us who wants us to try however we can to help others and make the world a better place. God is not a boy or a girl. God has no shape or form or any body that we can see. God wants us to help others, but God does not make us. We have to decide to help others, and I hope you will."

As I reflected on my talk with Flora, I know she will have lots more questions. When speaking with children about God, I feel it is vital to never tell them things, which we will have to "un-tell" them when they grow older. It is also crucial to me to tell children nothing that I don't believe myself.

Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs is with the Bat Yam Temple of the Islands.

 
 

 

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