Have you ever begun reading a Bible story or a saint’s biography to your young child or grandchild and then wondered if the story was a little too graphic or violent for young ears?
One grandparent read to her 4-year-old granddaughter from a children’s Bible, but her daughter was not very happy about her reading the “violent” stories like Noah’s Ark and Cain and Abel. Grandma called Father Simon Says® for advice.
Fr. Richard Simon was quite bewildered by the question, noting that secular media is often much more violent and graphic than a children’s Bible.
“You could remind the child that God never really kills anyone because he put an immortal soul in people so they only seem like they’re dying; they’re not really,” explained Fr. Simon.
It’s important to follow the parent’s wishes but also important to help your grandchild to grow in her faith. Perhaps as a compromise, recommended Fr. Simon, she might tell her daughter that she will try to avoid violent sections of the scripture and when there is a passage that has a little bit of violence in it that you will make sure your granddaughter knows that God never really kills anybody.
Is it better to protect your child’s innocence or to instruct them in the Faith and the reality of our fallen world?
“I know of two great theological lights … one is very protective of his children, doesn’t let them see anything. The other one, if they express an interest in something he will drive them to a bad part of town and point because he thinks they’re going to have to face this someday anyway. I probably wouldn’t be so blunt as he, but if I had to choose between the two positions, I would say, as the Puerto Ricans say, you can’t hide the sky with your hand,” said Fr. Simon.
The messages and depth to which we teach our kids about the existence of good and evil must be age-appropriate. You know your child and what they can handle. Just make sure that they aren’t so sheltered that they aren’t prepared to live and defend their faith when the time comes.
And it’s important to introduce Holy Scripture to our kids from a young age. Start with basic verses and paraphrased stories that a child can understand. And as your child grows and matures, their understanding of Scripture should grow, too!
If our kids are smart, kind, reasonable, and sheltered from the evil in the world, it’s important to prepare them in some way for what they will encounter out in the world. “This kid is going to see a lot of violence in her life and I think she’s got to understand that God ultimately has everyone in his hand.”
Tune in to Father Simon SaysTM weekdays at 1-2pm CT only on Relevant Radio®.