I attended a funeral in which a son of the deceased said:  “My four-year-old son asked me, ‘Why did God make Grandpa Bob die?’  I told him, ‘God wanted someone to play basketball with.’”

I cringed when I heard this father’s explanation.  I could just imagine what the little 4-year-old thought: “Oh, but I wanted to play basketball with Grandpa too!  But mean old God took him away.” Maybe he also thought, “I don’t think I like this God very much.”

We have to be careful how we answer questions about God and death, especially for young children who don’t yet understand abstract concepts.

So what could the father have said when his little son asked, “Why did God make Grandpa die?”  He could have responded honestly, “I don’t know.” Maybe adding, “However, I do believe that God really loves you, me, Grandpa and each person everywhere.”

When you really do not know the answer to a child’s question or anyone’s question,  give a simple and straightforward honest answer like: “I don’t know.”  Sometimes it is helpful to answer questions about God with, “No one knows for sure but I believe. . .”  Another response might be, “You know, I wonder about that too.”

We don’t have to have all the answers. Practice saying, “I don’t know.”



Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


  1. Michelle Bracken

    How do you suggest explaining dementia to young children.
    I am sure you have been asked this before. Can you direct me
    to articles dealing with the subject.

  2. Rosemary Matevie

    I would say:
    They can’t remember and talk like they used to but
    we can still talk to them and I think they like that.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.