What happens if we’re bad?

August 16, 2006 at 10:54 pm 14 comments

My youngest son, Ryland, is at that age (eight) when he still asks a lot of questions.  As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I like answering my children’s questions as honestly as I could.  You may think that they are just innocent questions that need simple answers but I sometimes find myself fumbling for the right words to say. 

Here is another conversation I had with him a few months ago, around the time when he just had his First Reconciliation (Confession).  As usual, I was in the boys’ room helping him get ready for bed. 

Him:  Mommy, what is the name of the snake in that garden? 

Me: You mean the one where Adam and Eve were? 

Him: Yeah 

Me:  Satan.  He’s the devil. 

Him:  Where is he?  Is he in hell? 

Me:  Yeah.  But actually he’s also everywhere.  Like God is everywhere. 

Him:  What does he do? 

Me:  He makes us do bad things. 

Him:  How? 

Me:  Well, he tells our conscience to do bad things. 

Him:  What does that mean? 

Me:  He’ll whisper in your ear and makes you do bad things. 

Him:  Like, Ryland kill your mommy. 

(Then he realized what he just said.) 

Him:  I’m scared. 

Me:  That’s why you pray at night.  What do you always pray at night? 

Him:  Dear God, please make me a good boy always. 

Here’s a continuation of that conversation. 

Him: If you kill somebody, will you go to hell? 

Me:  Maybe not, if you’re really, really sorry about it and confess your sin. 

Him:  Where is hell?  Is it under the ground and has fires? 

Me: I don’t really know if that’s true.  But I know that we don’t want to be in that place. 

Him:  What about soldiers?  They kill people.  Will they go to hell? 

Me:  See, that’s like a tricky question.  They’re defending their country, but they kill people.  I think if they are sorry afterwards, they won’t go to hell. 

How would you have answered these questions?


Entry filed under: Raising the 3Rs.

The birds and the bees Summer lessons

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ladybug  |  August 17, 2006 at 12:16 am

    Tricky question indeed. I just hope I know what to answer when that time comes. 🙂

  • 2. bing  |  August 17, 2006 at 9:31 am

    tricky question indeed. i will have to say there are things in this world that only God can fathom (or simply, understand). He (God) best what to do about the soldiers because he can see our hearts.

    that had me thinking… smart boy, aint he?

  • 3. Toe  |  August 17, 2006 at 11:21 am

    I wish that more people would wonder what would happen to them when they do something bad. We’d probably have a better, safer, and more peaceful world to live in.

  • 4. niceheart  |  August 17, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    Ladybug, at least you still have time to think of the answers. 🙂

    Bing, smart? I won’t contest to that. 🙂 The more I answer his questions, the more questions he comes up with.

    Toe, I also have the same wish.

  • 5. Sidney  |  August 17, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    I am not such a big fan of the imagery/symbolism of the devil, hell, sin, punishment and heaven.
    I prefer to stress the concept of good and bad. Of conscience. Of the purpose of one’s life in this world.

  • 6. Phil  |  August 18, 2006 at 7:58 am

    Cool stuff…! I like your boy; his questions show great insight. He’ll be the sensitive sort, I can see that. I think the heaven and hell thing has a lot of worth… The idea of good and evil as it relates to a heven and hell is a valuable way to steep your children… I say that after observing over-secularized, fuzzy-minded pseudo-intellectuals find ways to rationalize almost any behavior or action. Good is relative, Bad is relative… Then again, maybe they are “sorta” right, but for kids, why not make it as black and white as possible..?

  • 7. bugsybee  |  August 18, 2006 at 8:49 am

    Oh, tough questions. Times like this sometimes make me glad I don’t have kids 🙂 Easier to answer my college students’ questions. LOL Have a happy weekend, Niceheart!

  • 8. Major Tom  |  August 18, 2006 at 10:24 am

    My kids—especially the the first two boys—also kept asking me similar questions; they’d always asked where dead people go. I just said that they go to a place called heaven. Will we also go there? I always answer that someday, we will be able to meet our departed love ones there.

    Whenever this kind of situation happens, I always ready myself with safe anwers, otherwise the small kids may be confused and perturbed. I have a mind that somehow, these things are so hard to fathom for the young in mind where even us adults have also difficulty in resolving them; whether they are of truth or merely of myth.

  • 9. Abaniko  |  August 18, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    I had exactly the same question before. If I’m asked about it now, I’d probably say, “go, ask your mom.” Hehe.

  • 10. niceheart  |  August 18, 2006 at 9:40 pm

    Sidney, I also think that it’s important to stress the concept of good and evil. But little children do need some kind of symbol to understand that concept.

    That’s the thing, Phil. How can I make it as white and black, when I myself has difficulty understanding it. 🙂

    Like you, Major Tom, I also want to give safe but honest answers.

  • 11. niceheart  |  August 18, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    Bugsybee, I agree. Textbook questions are easier to answer. 🙂

    Abaniko, lucky for you, you’re not the mom. 🙂 This reminds me that when I’m sick, I’d tell my kids that I need my mommy. And my youngest son would say, but you’re the mommy. 🙂

  • 12. Hsin  |  August 21, 2006 at 9:25 am

    I’m not there yet, but I do think it would serve me well to have answers ready when Sara starts asking the really difficult questions. I think your approach is right – answer as honestly as possible. Because I don’t want to teach her untruths, only to have to back peddle when she’s older.

  • 13. niceheart  |  August 21, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Hsin, you’re right. It’s hard to go back to our lies when they get older and know better.

  • 14. Of Wars and The Ice Cap « Journey to Honeyville  |  November 4, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    […] In my post What happens if we’re bad? I shared a conversation I had with Ryland, my 8-year old son.  Here’s an excerpt from that post: […]


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