Helping an 8 yr old understand death?

I asked this a bit ago but I don't think I worded it right.

My 8 yr old wants to know why God would take us up to heaven when he knows it hurts the people who loved them? She doesn't understand the whole concept of earth. If God wants us with him why did he bother making an earth in the first place? Why not just make a world like heaven in the first place.

I hope that clarified it a bit.

She did just lose her grandpa less than a month ago. She is a sensitive and emotional girl who has daily tears and hundreds of questions, that I have been able to handle up to this point.( and she keeps harping on this one). She has seen the school therapist and I am thinking of having her talk to a priest that she knows.

thanks again

19 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My daughter was around 8 when she lost her grandpa too. I sat down with her, oftern, and we talked at length (only when she wanted to) about life and death. I explained to her that while it's okay for us to be sad and miss grandpa, that grandpa was in heaven and no longer in pain anymore. I explained to her that we would have lived forever in paradise, but people choose to sin, do bad things. That choice makes God sad and because He is so good, He can't stand to be around the bad things. But that He loves us so much that He didn't want to just leave us here. So He sent His Son Jesus who took away the sins when He died. So now, while we are on earth, we are born, live, then we have to go (die), but it's not the end, it's the beginning.

    As far as creating Earth - Earth was paradise until we messed it up. That's why God had to fix it for us.

  • 1 decade ago

    Your daughter sounds like a very intelligent, reasoning girl; you must be very proud that she's asking such deep questions at a young age.

    Because of her intelligence, I would sit down with her and go through these concepts in the Bible:

    Step 1: Read Joshua 24:14-15 together. Explain to her that the Jewish people were about to enter into the land God gave them forever. But before they did that, Joshua their leader wanted them to know they had to choose who they wanted to worship: God or idols. The people chose God. Explain to her that we are ALL called to make a similar choice in this life: will we serve God or other things?

    Step 2: Then, explain that God gives each of us special things to do during our lifetimes, referred to as "ministries;" yet, each believer is called to be a "soldier" for Christ (show her Phillipians 2:25, 2 Timothy 2:3-4, and Philemon 1:2). This is because we are "contending" (fighting) for the faith.

    Step 3: All soldiers must have armor. Read Ephesians 6:10-20 together.

    Step 4: Explain to her that her grandpa had his own mission on earth to fulfill. His last mission was to show his granddaughter that she should think about God -- her questions about Him are proof of this. It's now her mission to make a decision someday and (hopefully) be a soldier for Jesus. So while her grandpa's passing is painful, it's also given her a gift from God.

    I hope this helps. Peace and Merry Christmas.

  • 1 decade ago

    As much as you want her to understand there are some questions that we as parents can not answer... and there are some questions that no one can answer. Unfortunatly this may be one of those questions. Your 8 year old does not have faith in the Church... she has faith in you. She will not learn faith in the church for a long time. She has faith that you know and if you dont know you will show her someone who does know. IE if you tell her that a priest would know more than you do she will beieve you blindly. She will eventually move on. She is trying to understand which I believe is part of the greiving process. If you want her to believe something that is religious... ie he is in a better place then you should stick to that. You could try telling her that God has a job for all of us here on earth and once your job is done that you move onto heaven. Or that we are put here on earth in order to prove that we are worthy of heaven. As I would think you hvae told your daughter that bad people dont' go to heaven. Be creative... if you want to stick to a religious stance on why people die there are plenty of theories and stories that you can tell your daughter. I am not trying to demean your beliefs. I am not Christainan but I understand that religion as a whole helps some people and makes SOME people better people and hence why I said "if you choose to believe" "theories & stories" no disrespect meant. Happy Holidays and Good Luck with your daughter this has to be hard for all of you but especially her.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Impossible to answer.

    Do you want her to understand death - or understand it in the context of your religion?

    If the latter, we don't know specifically what beliefs you taught her to this point.

    "If God wants us with him why did he bother making an earth in the first place? Why not just make a world like heaven in the first place."

    Sounds like she got you (and it is in context of religion she was taught). She found an inconsistancy in what was taught. You don't know the answer yourself - that is why you want to get help her and/or send her to talk to a priest.

    Why give her an aswer? Something else to believe it and take of faith.

    She sounds smart. Just say, those are really good questions. What do you think? Why would that be?

    You can point out new thoughts for her to ponder - the Earth is a gift to us. God wants us to live life to the fullest. Etc.

    Then let her come back with a new question or an answer for herself.

    Maybe the two of you can ponder it and reason it out yourself.

    Why do we need an immediate answer? It is ok to not have an answer.

    ~ Eric Putkonen

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  • 1 decade ago

    1st of all - you said something interesting.."she doesn't understand the concept of earth." Do any of us? So - knowing that every human being thinks of earth in a different have to decide if this is a God question - an elderly dying question - a child's curiosity of death in general or maybe a question of how to fill her void after Grandpa died?

    That is a lot to accomplish in one answer so ask her 1st - ":Why do you keep asking about God and earth?" Then - you will have a much better way to approach an answer...

    Remind her - there a LOTS of people in the world who think very differently about death and earth and heaven and peace. Ask her what she thinks...this always helps too.

    By the way - Barbara Walters HEAVEN special is on again is a very insightful look into what different people and religious groups feel about it together!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    My mother died when I was nine, from complications in child birth.

    I did get a sister.

    I always hated people looking at me and feeling sorry for me, but at the same time I wanted to talk about her. My relatives and friends would avoid the subject, or never look me in eye. I felt like they wanted to act like she had never existed.

    At the same time, my Dad told me the truth about death, that she was asleep in death waiting for the hope of the resurrection. Not that God needed another angel. Kids aren't stupid! God has 1000's upon 1000's of angels. A loving God would not feel he needed my mom more then me and my brothers and sister.

    We are humans, we are meant to live on the earth. We get old and die, that is life. We get sick and die, that is life. We are at the wrong place at the wrong time and die, that is life.

    Don't encourage your daughter to blame God for the death of her grandfather. Tell her about the bibles hope of a resurrection and a time when there will be no more sickness and death.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Honestly, I don't know if your daughter is at a cognitive level where she can understand the concept of earth that Christianity follows (I'm not Christian, so I'm not slamming, just specifyinh). If you're well rooted in your faith, then I think talking to a priest is a very good idea. He probably has lots of experience at explaining the very adult concepts of the church to children in a way they can understand it.

    Good luck!


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I have never lost anyone so far that is close to me. All I can say is God created this earth without sin but sin came in and that shorten man days upon the earth. We all will die one day. Because sin is here with have so many dieases to contend with. I wished I knew how to tell you on how to help her deal with death but I dont. In time she will come to understand things better. Sorry for your loss and your childs. May God bless you all and Merry Christmas.

  • 3 years ago

    If he's 2000 miles away why do no longer you do something so elementary as exchange your telephone selection? he's a drunkard. he would be long ineffective in the past he can carry out any threat....which I have not have been given any doubt is alcohol fueled pass away the police officers out of it. All you chocolates opt to be such hard adult adult males yet call the police officers to remedy those asinine problems. the two that or enhance some balls and hop the subsequent flight out to the place ever he's and punch his lights fixtures out.

  • 1 decade ago

    You are on a good path to answering such a difficult question. There is no wonderful answer to this question. A part of death must always be painful - for on earth it is the separation of people who love each other. But in the longer view it is a blessing from the God, who created us to love him. He did not originally create us to die, but in order to create us as independent being who could freely love Him in return, He had to give us the option of not loving Him. The choice of Adam and Eve to turn from Him and go their own way, created what could have been an eternal separation from Him - such as the fallen angels who cannot physically die have experienced, for they are unable to return to Him. We, however, could die physically. And with what seems a limitation became the means by which God could restore us to Himself, for He sent His Son, Jesus to die on our behalf, to pay the penalty for our sins. Yes, the God who created us has loved us so much that He Himself experienced death for us.

    When Grandpa dies it hurts us because then we are separated from him, but Grandpa can go be with Jesus and not be in pain anymore. Someday you and your son can go to join him in that place where there is no pain anymore.

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