Children abound with questions; new book relays some answers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Based on the sheer number of questions they ask, children may have invented the query.

They ask about everything: "Are we there yet?" "Why is the sky blue?" "Can I stay up late?"

While these may be among some of the favorite childhood questions, a child's interrogative trait sometimes bends to the serious, especially in the areas of Christianity and faith.

For Tommy Sanders, director of childhood ministry publishing at LifeWay Christian Resources and author of a new Broadman & Holman book, "When Can I?", the many questions from children aren't a nuisance. They are important, and it is equally important that parents and teachers have answers to them, especially when the questions concern faith issues.

"Children begin the journey toward faith in Christ at the very first teachable moments," said Sanders, a pre-kindergarten Sunday School class teacher at First Baptist Church, Goodlettsville, Tenn. "Our goal should be to partner with the Holy Spirit all along the way."

The book seeks to equip parents and teachers to guide children on their spiritual journey, while also providing resources to answer questions about baptism, communion and becoming a Christian.

"Leading our children to know, love, trust, obey and follow Christ is not just an event or an occasion," Sanders said. "It is a journey that begins at birth."

Written to help children understand the steps essential to the Christian life, the book contains four stories, each focusing on a specific question about faith and Christianity, including baptism, communion, why Jesus came and how to become a Christian.

All four stories are told with the young reader in mind. The first two stories are written on a kindergarten level, while the last two deal with deeper issues of faith for older readers.

A special section follows each story in the book, providing suggested follow-up questions and guidance in dealing with the specific faith issues for authority figures such as parents, teachers or ministers.

"When Can I? gives parents, teachers and ministers words, phrases and questions that are more understandable for children," Sanders said. "While there is no separate or watered-down version of the gospel for children, the language of adults and the church can be confusing to them."

The book should help adults avoid misunderstandings and create an environment that encourages the child to express his feelings and faith in his own words, Sanders said.

"The ultimate goal of the book," he said, "is to be a tool to better equip adults in counseling children and to give boys and girls answers" to questions they might have about accepting Jesus.

In addition to featuring stories for children and insights for parents and teachers, When Can I? includes illustrations by Gregg Thorkelson, a freelance illustrator from Idaho.


(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: WHEN CAN I?

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