You're loading the dishwasher, and you hear a pair of feet shuffling up behind you. “Hey cutiebug,” you say over your shoulder, “what’s up?”
“I have a question,” your child responds. Then everything stops as she asks a question you never saw coming, a question to which you have no answer. You stammer, tell your kid the best answer you can conjure up in the moment, hope you’ve allayed the child’s fear, and give them a big hug. Then you spend the rest of the night second-guessing yourself about how to give children the best answer possible, the courage they need, and the honesty they deserve.
The subject is often unpredictable: Violence. Gender. Race. Bullying. Mental illness. Death. Divorce. Religion. Money. And once you have a chance to think it through, you formulate that better answer, but the moment has passed. The conversation goes unspoken. And you wonder what’s going through that child’s troubled mind.
When Kids Ask Hard Questions: Faith-Filled Responses for Tough Topics helps parents, grandparents, and those our kids trust begin thinking about those conversations before the conversation starts. It was written for progressive Christians, intentionally welcoming, accepting, and challenging while leaving room for readers to bring their own religious and moral views into the formula. It’s not prescriptive – there’s plenty of room for you to customize the conversation. Our hope is that the book gives you the ingredients you need to make a better conversation.
When Kids Ask Hard Questions grew from a partnership with Young Clergy Women International. The eighth book produced so far by the partnership began with YCWI’s editorial board committing in the summer of 2018 to produce the book. Karen Ware Jackson and Bromleigh McCleneghen took the lead, and in an astounding brainstorming session, the book was outlined and 90 percent of the future authors were identified. A diverse pool of contributors, each with experiences that made them the perfect person to address the topic, means each essay knows what it’s talking about. Each entry wrestles with its issue and gives you the foundation for that conversation that has to happen. The rest is up to you, but now you’ll have a head start on your kid. (And we know how rare that is!)
There are a ton of resources out there that will give you advice on what to say to kids when they ask you some of life’s hardest questions. For progressive Christians, that advice is, shall we say, unhelpful. To put it nicely.
We hope When Kids Ask Hard Questions provides an excellent resource for those who need a loving, tender response to those questions. There’s an empty space on the shelf waiting for this book. We’ve heard from librarians who couldn’t wait to have this book on the shelves because it’s so desperately needed. And if you have an inquisitive kiddo in your life, make space on your bookshelf, too.
Hopefully, kids never quit asking questions. That’s a good thing. Questions are how we learn about our world and who we share it with. When Kids Ask Hard Questions will help you formulate better answers.
We are grateful for our partnership with Young Clergy Women International, for our writers, and for the faith-filled, life-giving conversations that it will inspire.
Order your copy of When Kids Ask Hard Questions: Faith-Filled Responses for Tough Topics.