J.M. asks from New York, NY on December 05, 2011
I would put myself into the "spiritual not religious" category. My 4 year old daughter recently began to ask some of the "big" questions for which I don't have any simple answers. For example, what happens when someone dies? What is God? etc.
Has anyone found any great children's books that are non-denominational yet spiritual? Books that consider these large questions in an open and gentle way...books that acknowledge that there may not be one "right" answer? All of the books that I've seen so far are very geared to a specific religion.
Thank you for your time.
☆.A. answers from Pittsburgh on December 05, 2011
There's a really nice book called Lifetimes The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan-Mellonie that is kind of a nature-geared book.
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S.S. answers from Binghamton on December 06, 2011
While there are lots of wonderful books, as a philosophy teacher I want to encourage you to resist the urge to just give her answers. At her age, why questions are the only surefire way kids know how to start a conversation. Our desire to provide answers stifles their creativity and personal exchange. The big questions don't have simple answers anyway, so we are presenting a false impression of the complexity of the world.
The next time she asks "Why", turn it around as ask what she thinks. I have had many wonderful conversations with kids and students on this basis. My most memorable was with my four-year-old about evil. Her question was why is there evil in the world. When I asked what she thought, she said: I think there is evil in the world because if there were only good, we wouldn't enjoy it. There has to be some bad so we can see the good. That turned into a wonderful conversation about God, our values and morality that I still treasure today.
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N.S. answers from Chicago on December 05, 2011
I don't have anything to offer, but will eagerly be awaiting other mama's replies as we are having similar issues at my house with my 7 and 5 year old boys. Interstingly, my youngest said that heaven is where your soul goes until it is needed again...like recycling. So, I'm in this place where I want them to be familiar with christianity, as my husband's family is Catholic (so it makes sense for them to understand and be knowledgeable about their belief system) but also able to develop their own relationship with and understanding of a higher power- or not, as long as they are good people with a good moral and ethical compass.
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R.O. answers from New York on December 06, 2011
Here is some general info on Children's Health website.
A.G. answers from New York on December 06, 2011
The Bible! It's non denominational and always correct!
S.M. answers from Washington DC on December 05, 2011
I am a Cathholic by upbringing, but more spiritual than religious in my adult life. I have purchased these "Little Blessings" books for my daughters. These are definately Christian, but I have found them useful in describing topics that are hard to describe. I think they are pretty toned down in terms of religion sermon, but each section is footnoted to scripture if you wish to follow-up in more depth. The ryhmes are pretty and lovely and light in tone. Probably for the under 8 age.
I have ones on:
*What is Prayer?
*What is God like?
*What is the Cross? (about Easter.
I see they have one on "Questions" and "What is Heaven?"
In general, I have found Christian bookstores to be a good place for finding books of this type. There are plenty that turn me off because they are more evangelizing, but there are also plenty of good references and books to frame discussions of these hard topics. they usually have quite a few about loss and death.
A librarian is a great reference too!!
E.C. answers from Syracuse on December 06, 2011
I would agree with the answer on the Bible! The Bible is an authentic record of historical events, and is filled with wisdom and the highest morality. I have a 4yo boy who asks many questions too! I read the Bible more now after having children. There is a great version that contains footnotes to aid understanding. It is called the Recovery Version b/c it recovers truths lost in many translations. This is an accurate translation from the original Hebrew and Greek languages. A nonprofit called Bibles for America offers free New Testament Bibles on their website www.bfa.org Please feel free to email me with questions.
For example, to answer the questions you pose:
1) I explain to my son that God is someone who created him to be a wonderful human being. Many women try and try and cannot conceive, but God gave him to us to raise. (even his baby sister, although sometimes he wants to "give her away" to someone else!)Lately, we have been studying the human body together, and how our organs function marvelously together (the heart never stops beating, etc). "I am awesomely and wonderfully made" (Psalms 139:14) My husband is a physician and he always says medicine can never do what God does. An artificial knee just isn't the same as the one we were born with.
2) The Bible considers that after we die, we go to sleep. First thessalonians 4:13 says "But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are sleeping, that you would not grieve even as also the rest who have no hope. " Our spirits go to Hades, which is underneath the earth, awaiting resurrection, a future event. If you have a Bible handy, there is a great story in Luke chapter 6, verses 19-31. There was a rich man who did not even share his food scraps with a poor beggar. Later they both die and go to Hades, one to the pleasant section, one to the unpleasant section. You do not have to be religious to use the Bible to teach your children. It is a good lesson on kindness and sharing.
I hope this helps. I don't usually write much but I did today, I guess!