How Can I Talk to My Grandchild About Life, Death, and Heaven?

Question from a reader:

Your ministry has blessed my wife and me so greatly. EPM staff, I am having trouble mentally so can you help me? I cannot get the words out very well to talk to my Christian grandson. He is nearly a teenager and has suffered medical issues and been in a children’s hospital. I can talk to adults, like his mom, who is a strong Christian, but I am not sure how much to cover biblical topics with him. I have Randy’s book Heaven for Kids.

Answer from Doreen Button, EPM staff:

Thank you for your note. You show obvious, heartfelt concern over your grandson, and I pray that God will send a solution to his health issues soon. I think you are also asking for help in how to share comfort and connect with him and his faith as well. You mentioned that he’s a Christian, so you both have common ground if you both love Jesus.

One suggestion I have is to share your story with him. What was life like for you growing up, what questions did you want answers to, and how did you fall in love with Jesus? When we’re honest with kids about things we struggled with and give them a chance to share their struggles too, it’s easier for them to trust us when we have harder things to share. Any chance you have to enter into his world and laugh together is going to be time you’ll both cherish. And it can have a healing effect, easing some of the fear that unknown illnesses naturally evoke.

When Randy was young, he loved comic books and their larger cousins, graphic novels. A few years ago, we collaborated with a wonderful company called Kingstone Media which produced two graphic novels using Randy’s take on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus and Paul’s story as told in the book of Acts. They were fun projects, and your great grandson might really enjoy reading them. Here’s an article about the two graphic novels which also contains links for purchasing if you’re interested.

You might also enjoy watching together and discussing some of the short Bible videos produced by BibleProject on a huge variety of topics.

If your concern is about how to talk about end-of-life concerns (since we all die eventually), the New Earth and eternity, the Heaven for Kids book, which you have, is a great resource. This article and this article both have excerpts specifically about what to expect after death. An average preteen can handle difficult subjects when they’re approached with gentleness, honesty, and love. He may have lots of questions that he’s not sure how to ask, so when he knows that you’re interested in what he has to say and that what he asks isn’t going to shock you or trigger a sermon, and instead welcomes his wondering, you’ll find your relationship with him deepening along with his (and your) faith.

I think it’s wonderful that you want to be part of his faith journey.

God bless you and your family as you navigate this together.

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev

Doreen is part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and helps Randy with editing and answering reader questions. She is a certified biblical counselor.