I have had many children ask me the following questions
- Does my daddy still love me?
- Do you think if my mom comes back home, she will love me again?
- How can Jesus love me when my own dad didn’t love me enough to stick around?
- Do you love me?
- Do you know I love you?
Love, love, love, it is a basic need in all of us. God designed us to be loved, to feel love and to love back. Our brains are hard wired to feel the strong emotion of love. Children ask these questions because they want to make sure they are still lovable.
When a child experiences the separation or divorce of their parents, they need more than ever to know they are loved. Many children think because a parent left the home, the parent no longer loves them. These children need people who can step in and fill this void in their lives.
As children’s leaders and ministers we can become the catalyst that moves the child beyond the initial feeling of loss and abandonment. I realize many of these children are not actually abandoned but many feel like that. We can gently bring God’s love into their lives.
How to answer those questions
I’d like to share my personal view of how to answer some of those questions about love.
“Does my daddy still love me?” I believe it is wrong to answer this question with a yes, if we don’t know for sure the father still loves his child. The best answer to this question might be, “Hmm, what do you think? Do you think your dad still loves you?” Take your cue from the child. If the child pushes you for an answer then simply say, “Only your dad can answer that question.” I would not say out and out that a dad does not love his child.
As Christian leaders we naturally think all parents love their children but when you work in the world of divorce you learn that is not always true. Some people are incapable of loving their children for one reason or another. And others, while they may love their child, during the divorcing years, they aren’t cognizant of this love.
“Do you think if my mom comes back home, she will love me again?”Some adults will try and distract the child or they will brush the child off with, “Of course. When your mom comes back home, everything will be fine.” This is setting the child up for a big letdown because you can’t guarantee the mom will return and you don’t know that even if she does return she will show love toward the child.
Children of divorce become intuitive. They learn to read the adult’s faces, posture and feelings. They will know you are brushing them off and this will only serve to exasperate them. Children need the truth but they need it encompassed in care and love. Tell them something like, “I don’t know what your mom is thinking or what she will do. But I’ll tell you what. If you were my child I’d love to the moon and back.”
“How can Jesus love me when my own dad didn’t love me enough to stick around?” Out of all the questions to be asked about love, this is the one we want a child to ask. This gives us an opportunity to tell them about how much God loves them. You can tell them how God created them to be loved by Him. You can give them a scripture or two and help them imprint God’s word on their hearts and in their brains.
Some of you are going to want to tell the child that their earthly father loves them but again this is not wise if you don’t know that for sure. I realize as ministers many of you can’t fathom this concept but concentrate on how much God loves this child.
“Do you love me?” I have had hundreds of children ask me this question. It is heart felt question and it deserves an answer. If you are uncomfortable answering yes that you do love them then wrap your answer in love for the Lord. Say something like, “God gives me enough love to love every kid in this room including you!”
Personally I like to bring a little joy into this answer. Depending on the child, I might say, “Absolutely I love you.” Or, “I love you this much” as I stretch my hands real wide. Or, “Forever and always I’ll love you. Now what do you think about that?” And the one the kids like the best is, “I love you to infinity and beyond.”
“Do you know I love you?” This is the sweetest question of all. I acknowledge this question with a softness and say something like, “I do know that and you know what? I am honored that you love me. Thank you for loving me.”
As you are approached with questions about love, ask God for His wisdom in answering the child standing before you. God has placed this child before you in this moment in time. Use it wisely.