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When Children Ask About God: A Guide for Parents Who Don't Always Have All the Answers

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  63 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Who made God? Can God hear my prayers? Why does God let people die? The author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People helps parents understand their children's fears and fantasies, and offers advice on answering their questions about religion, the Bible, illness, and bereavement.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 24th 1995 by Schocken (first published 1971)
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Emilia P
Jul 22, 2014 Emilia P rated it really liked it
Shelves: real-books, churrrch
I am pretty sure my parents read this in their preparation for our religious but reasonably rational/worldly upbringing (though you may take issue with that, I'm pretty sure I can hold the idea that biblical stories are at once true and non-literal in my head, and that counts for something) .. it's a really good argument for why we need the idea of God in our lives as children and adults, and not in a fairy-tale or moral code-y way, but as an expression of the complexity and potential goodness o ...more
Jacqueline
Mar 11, 2014 Jacqueline rated it really liked it
I have read almost all of Harold Kushner's books. They always challenge me intellectually and spiritually. This one contains more wisdom than spiritual comfort. Kushner provides a convincing argument against
thinking of God as some kind of Master Puppeteer or Santa Claus who can grant wishes.

p. 159 "One of the reasons we pray, in placid times as well as in times of difficulty, is to express the fact that there are things we need for our lives which we cannot get through our own efforts. We must
...more
Abby Lyn
Feb 04, 2011 Abby Lyn rated it it was ok
This is a wonderful book choice for certain types of parents and Kushner's writing is focused and helpful in many ways. I was hoping for a book that could help answer my toddler's questions about God in a way that is acceptable to both her Jewish father and Christian mother, but unfortunately in my eyes this fell short. There are sparks of brilliance here. Kushner's explanation of how God is real yet unseen, the way wind and love and anger are real, was perfect. But in other ways, his suggestion ...more
Melissa
Aug 24, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
In this book, Kushner gives the reader some thoughts to consider when children ask questions about God, death, and other weighty topics that often confound and confuse parents wishing to provide just the right answer. This isn't a question and answer type of book in the sense that Kushner doesn't list a question (i.e. "can God see me all the time?") followed by THE answer, but rather gives a perspective from which to frame one's own answers. I found myself wishing this wasn't a library book beca ...more
Hilary Ryder
May 15, 2016 Hilary Ryder rated it it was ok
I love Harold Kushner and his "When bad things..." Revolutionized my personal theology. However, as has been said before, this book offers some wisdom, but in the wine would be better titled "how to tell children about MY God". The book focuses more on his liberal "good orderly direction" God than how to answer kids questions. As someone who believes in a God who cares about me, and who believes that prayer works, this book left me feeling sad for those whose perception of God is as dilute and d ...more
Gena
Mar 06, 2009 Gena rated it really liked it
Okay--well it is hard to say that "I really liked it" but I got a lot out of it. It is written by a rabbi and so there is a small portion of it that is not so relevant for us; but as a person who struggles with answering these questions for myself, not to mention my kids, and who teaches sunday school, but has trouble with 'faith'; I found it refreshing and useful. I really liked his approach to these questions and felt like I could have these discussions without sounding like a fundamentalist-- ...more
Deirdre Keating
I hadn't finished this when the library demanded it back last year...but even just the intro was brilliant.

I remember being influenced by his ideas about not describing God as a father or "in our image" to children...and as not being "invisible" because God does not have a body...but as a loving "being."

So we had been describing God as a "being" to Aidan and then at Easter, as he sat eating his jelly beans, he looked up and asked, "So exactly what kind of bean is God?"

Classic.
Shallee
Jul 09, 2012 Shallee rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I "borrowed" from church that has been on my nightstand for two years. I keep going back to it. It is by the wise Jewish rabbi who wrote about When Bad Things Happen to Good People. My boys have had some tough questions. This book doesn't provide a list of answers for the children, but a framework to think about God, deal with kids' misconceptions and frame discussions with kids.
Kristen-Marie Freeman
I enjoyed hearing his opinions, but was repeatedly frustrated in that what he defined as God, was, to me, human consciousness and morality and would be better served defined and talked about as such.

As I continued to read, I decided to up my review a bit, as I found his section on talking to children about death heartening and practical.
Jen
Aug 30, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, books-i-own
I love most of what he has to say; however since he is Jewish and thus obviously doesn't hold the same views I do about Jesus and redemption, my views about some things -- primarily the concept of Heaven -- varied from his. But it was still a great read.
Kshappert
For a child who accepts Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy without question, my daughter can come up with some theological zingers. This book was very though provoking and has good insight.
Martine
Apr 21, 2009 Martine rated it really liked it
Harold Kushner presents logical answers to an ineffable concept kids will want to know answers about.
Peter Javsicas
Dec 21, 2011 Peter Javsicas rated it it was amazing
What could we possibly mean by "God"? This is not just for or about children.
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Harold S. Kushner is rabbi laureate of Temple Israel in the Boston suburb of Natick, Massachusetts. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he is the author of more than a dozen books on coping with life’s challenges, including, most recently, the best-selling Conquering Fear and Overcoming Life’s Disappointments.
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