Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Explaining Evil to a Four Year Old

Question: How do I answer my daughter, age four, when she asks me what evil is?

We pray the Lord's prayer every night. We also rotate among the Apostle's Creed and a prayer adapted from the Book of Common Prayer (Watch, O Lord, with those who wait, or watch, or weep tonight. Give your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest your weary ones. Bless your dying ones. Soothe your suffering. Shield your joyous ones, all for your love's sake.)

So far, we have variously discussed the meanings of the words tend, weary, soothe, suffering, shield from the BCP prayer, and from the Apostles creed several words which have now escaped my memory.

But when she hears and says "deliver us from evil" and asks me to explain evil, I know my explanation is insufficient because she keeps asking. I am interested to hear your ideas.

1 comment:

  1. I think at a four year old level you might could talk about evil being anything that keeps us from fully enjoying God's love. That takes care of evil within us and evil from beyond us. You could go with some examples without having to cover everything. As she grows this understanding can be discussed more fully and in a more complex way.