As we are helping our few lay a foundation for their faith, they take most of what we say as truth, because we are adults and they trust us. But sometimes, they have questions. And how we field those questions, even at a young age, determines whether they will ask us the next time a question arises in their mind.
Trust is a commodity that is earned, even at such a young age. It’s also something that can be broken easily. And earning trust back takes much longer than the trust we initially were given. But the reward of trust is the opportunity to hear the questions of the heart; and the answers are like mortar in their foundation of faith.
First, we have to earn their trust. We do that as we show up each week. When we get on their level and look in their eyes and find out what has happened in their world that week, they know that we care. When we take the time; when we make the time, to care about our little ones lives, not just whether or not they’ve learned the memory verse that week, we earn their acceptance; their trust.
As important as it is to earn their trust, it’s even more important to be prepared for what comes with it. Once that trust is in place, they will feel free to share with us what they think and what they question. While most of what they share is innocent, often humorous, and light-hearted; “My dog ate it’s poop!” or “My dad snores really loud!”, amid those types of comments from time to time you will hear, “Did God REALLY make everything? But how could He do that?”
If we answer those questions with a gasp and a stern reply, as though we can’t believe anyone would question that fact, we can lose the opportunity to answer the next question they have about their faith. But when we validate their question by answering as sincerely as they have asked, we continue to earn trust. And trust brings more questions.
The older a child gets, the more questions they will have about faith. Those questions will only get more complicated and the answers will be more complex. As leaders of preschoolers, we can use these first faith questions as a way to lead them to us, their faith community, to answer those questions. If we don’t, they will take their questions to their friends and to others.
They will have questions. Who do we want to answer them?
How do you earn trust with your few? What have you done with your few that has helped them know that you care about them?