If Your Kids Have Questions, You Want Them to Come to You for Answers
If Your Kids Have Questions,
You Want Them to Come to You for Answers
Honest Answers equips parents to explore God questions with their tweens
Who would have thought two weeks ago that we would be facing so much fear and uncertainty? There are so many unknowns, so many questions, and if we have them, we know our kids have them too. And they are going to be asking a lot of them in the coming weeks, including questions about God’s goodness and if prayer works. Are we prepared to answer their questions concerning faith? Janelle Alberts and Ingrid Faro set out to help parents confidently have these hard conversations with their new release, Honest Answers: Exploring God Questions with Your Tween (Kregel Publications/March 24, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446443/$15.99).
Somewhere between “Jesus Loves Me” and high school cynicism, the childlike acceptance of pat answers about faith is lost—often forever. While many parents find this transitional period daunting, they don’t want their kids to leave the Christian faith just because they didn’t get good answers to how prayer works or whether dinosaurs were on Noah’s ark.
Honest Answers is designed to help parents tackle the God questions that make them sweat. The authors know that when tweens start asking questions, they’re already old enough to understand the answers. Alberts and Faro are determined to equip parents with the language, theology, permission, and confidence to join in the discussion—and to learn how to offer deeply doctrinal answers in a way that connects with their children.
Honest Answers is divided into four parts, each with three chapters, addressing some of the biggest faith questions that come up:
- The Bible: How it was put together, how history supports it, and the points of view of the writers.
- Prayer: How to pray, when we don’t get the answers we are wanting, and sticking with God regardless.
- Faith and science: Why the two sides don’t always agree, and how to handle situations that come up in school when what kids learn there doesn’t line up with what they learn at church.
- The church: How it is set up, why there are different denominations, and its past, present, and future.
Each chapter begins with a “parent’s primer” on a specific topic that tweens often ask questions about. The primer introduces the topic and provides further background information to share in later conversations with the kids. Next, an “honest answers Q&A” section is the part of the chapter to be read as a family. Each Q&A section begins with a brief introduction followed by six to eight multiple choice questions to explore together.
“Our kids want and deserve discussion about God and the Bible and don’t accept simply being told what to think or believe,” Faro shares. “We can enter conversations providing solid and substantive responses to tough questions without jargon, fluff, or pat answers and don’t need to be afraid of questions our kids may have.”
“As parents, we want to feel confident enough to say to our kids, ‘Let’s talk about that,’ right at their point of interest,” Alberts adds. “However, that is not an easy thing to do. These core tenets of our faith have been debated over centuries and have involved councils, creeds, Bible translations, extraordinary feats of faith, and also terrible behavior. But we’re the parents. These kids want to know what there is to know from us. If our kids see a pattern that when they come to us, they get honest, forthright discussion even if we do not know every answer, that will keep them coming to us as a resource as they mature in their faith.”
The tween years present an incredible opportunity to build trust with kids and to keep them coming back to their parents for answers rather than finding other sources. With the tools and conversational tips here, moms and dads can engage in a hopeful conversation and help their children build a Christian faith to hold them steady their whole lives.
“Young teens and their parents have honest questions that deserve thoughtful, gracious engagement. This book provides accessible background for parents, caregivers, and teachers to the kinds of faith questions maturing young people ask, and thought-provoking conversation starters to spur curiosity and instruct through discussion. Brimming with both instruction and invitation to know and to grow, Honest Answers is an excellent teaching tool for families and faith communities looking for fresh ways to talk about God with the next generation.”
~ Michelle Van Loon, author of Born to Wander
“Too many of the previous generation were taught to think the Bible is a magical, mysterious, absolutely different kind of book, only to experience a sudden dissolution of their faith when they realized God’s Word came into being in a real world with real authors speaking to real situations. What I like about Honest Answers is that it gives our children a Bible that is magical yet utterly trustworthy, while at the same time it is a collection of authors speaking God’s word to God’s people over time. God bless the moms and dads and teachers who make use of this fine book.”
~ Dr. Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
About the Authors
Alberts wrote her first faith column for the Akron Beacon Journal in 2010 and has since been a regular contributor to various online sites including Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership, RELEVANT magazine, and others. Honest Answers is her first book.
Alberts and her family make their home in Ohio.
Visit her on Facebook (@AuthorJanelleAlberts).
Faro is an international speaker at conferences and churches and writes on topics that include navigating evil and suffering, abuse and power dynamics, women in the Bible, forgiveness, the goodness of God, identity in Christ, discipleship, and leadership. Her motivation is to encourage people, help them navigate the pain and sufferings of this world, and grow in thriving relationship with God and others. She is the coauthor of Honest Answers.
Faro has two married children and three grandchildren. She lives in Illinois.