Surely you remember those very first days of parenthood, before baby could talk, and you imagined that one day in the near future baby would come to you with questions. You would be the happy, proud parent showing and explaining the world to your little one, and it would be so exciting and fun.
Then, little by little baby started to sit up, crawl around, point to things, and say first words! The moments you had so long been waiting for! Finally you could hear what that little beautiful baby had to say. You could talk to your child, and they could talk back.
I remember being there myself, listening carefully as my child began asking anything and everything. I was the lucky parent who got to give all the answers.
At first it was fairly easy: “What is this? What is that? What do you do? And why do you do it?” Then it became a bit more repetitive: “Why and why and why?” Anytime, anywhere.
Kids have a way of springing things on us when we least expect. Sometimes we have no idea what the answer is, or we’ve heard the same question many times but have not been able to produce a satisfying answer, but you know they won’t stop asking. Their curious minds need to understand!
However you choose to answer, one thing is certain, the questions will not stop. They’ll only get more complicated. So as parents, how do we prepare?
When our children stop us in the middle of cooking dinner to ask, “Mommy, can I hug grandpa’s ghost?” or “Mommy, are my imaginations real? What is real anyway?” or simply “Mommy, what’s a soul and what happens after we die?” what do we do? What do we say?
I started drawing my answers into a world my children were familiar with, using the stuffed bears they played with all the time. It started out as a fun way of explaining, but grew into more. I ended up illustrating and writing a children’s book series called Kids’ Questions About Life, a trilogy on body, mind, and soul written in simple language for kids who are pondering the deeper, more complex but yet so essential issues of life. The books are about a family of bears. Mommy Bear and Daddy Bear do their best to answer all the little bear’s questions with honesty and simplicity as they explore the great outdoors and discover the world.
It took me two years to get my books ready! Fortunately my kids are two and a half years apart. My older one is now six and is still inspiring me to write new books, but my little one is now asking the questions I am all ready to answer. And of course I would be happy to share!