Let’s talk: conversations about God with my three-year-old 

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My daughter is old enough now to hold conversations, ask questions and wonder at the wide world around her. A few weeks before writing this we had an amazing conversation at bedtime that is absolutely a highlight for me as a parent. Now I’ll attempt to represent it here to the best of my memory. Unfortunately, I’m much better at remembering the vibe of a conversation than the specific details (just ask my wife). But I’ll do my best. 

While bedtime can be frustrating (especially if it drags out for too long), it is a special treat to put my daughter to bed. I always say a prayer with her before she goes to sleep. Sometimes she is resistant as she knows that after prayer, I’ll encourage her to sleep.

This particular night, as I lay down next to her, she said “Let’s talk about God”. If I wasn’t already lying down, you could have knocked me over with a feather. While she had asked to pray before and had also tried to tell a story at lotu (family worship)—that was interesting—she had never really initiated a conversation like this before.

“What do you want to talk about? Do you have any questions about God?”

I was trying to discover what had prompted this engagement. 

“Where is God?” 

Wow, big question. How do you explain the concepts of space, time and existence to a three-year-old?

I was still reeling a little but I strung together an answer that included something about heaven and us not being able to go there yet, but that God would soon bring heaven to come to us and take us with Him. 

“Can He come to my house?” 

“Well He’s already with us, we can talk to Him through prayer anytime.” 

“You know how Nanna Joy and Grandad live so far away but we can call them and FaceTime them whenever we want. Prayer is like that. Anytime you want to talk to God, you can just pray . . . even if we can’t see Him or it seems like He’s far away.” 

“Oh,” she said. 

She thought for a moment. “I want to play with God. Can we go to God’s house?” The highest compliment a three-year-old can pay is if they want to play with you. 

“We can’t right now but we hope to see Him very soon.” 

The next night she asked again. “Let’s talk about God.” 

“OK, what do you want to talk about?” We’ve talked about Jesus and how much He loves us. I’ve told her how long we had prayed and waited to have her and how she was God’s gift. I’ve talked about my work and what I do and how I get to talk and write about God. 

Now, every night when we go to bed, my daughter says, “Let’s talk”. (It sounds more like Wets tawk, it’s very cute). Sometimes she makes a list because she’s used to my follow-up questions. “Let’s talk about God or your work or stars or shooting stars.” 

We can learn a lot from children. From their search for knowledge to their innocent desires to be in God’s presence and play. I know Jesus, when He returns will gather little children to Himself and there will be laughter and joy. 

Some days I feel like I’m messing things up as a parent. I don’t want to pass on my stress or my bad habits or any of my flaws. But I trust that God will watch over my children and I desperately hope that they will grow up with a love for God and others deeply embedded in their hearts. 

I don’t know what the future holds but for now, I truly value our little bedtime ritual. I know these conversations won’t last forever. I hope we can always talk about all sorts of things, but I know as life changes and she grows, these opportunities might become less. So I’m “storing them up in my heart”. In the March 16 issue, you’ll find a lot of stories for young people and from young people. March 16 is Global Youth and Children’s Day. Let’s show our children how valuable they are to us and to God.

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