Family faith-sharing tip:
Death can be a difficult topic to discuss with children. So it may be best to talk about death before a bereavement happens, so you can remind them what you said when your family was less distressed, and more able to take it in. We talk about death being like sleep, but it’s important to reassure children that sleep is not like death, which can be a troublesome thought for them.
- John 11:25
- When we die loving Jesus, we know it is not the end of everything. One day He will come and bring us back to life and take us to heaven.
- Book or video clip, etc., of the life cycle of a butterfly
- Four paper labels that read:
- “Before I’m born”
- “When I’m alive on earth”
- “When I am dead”
- “When Jesus raises me back to life and takes me to heaven”
- Thick paper
What you do:
- Explore the life cycle of a butterfly in the most creative way available to you. It may be through reading a nature book; watching a video clip on the Internet; using models and toys; visiting a butterfly farm; or the best way is by using a real butterfly kit, which you can purchase from educational suppliers in some countries, so that the children can eventually watch all the stages of the butterfly’s life.
- Then lay out pictures or models of the stages in a butterfly’s life: egg; caterpillar; chrysalis; and butterfly. Lay out the labels in a different order.
- Tell the children that the different stages of a butterfly’s life are a little like the stages of our lives. See if they can match the labels you’ve written to the stages in the butterfly’s life cycle.
- How is the egg like the time before we’re born?
- How is the caterpillar like our life on earth?
- How is the chrysalis like death?
- How is the butterfly in its final form like our raised-again life in heaven?
- Do you think the caterpillar has any idea what it’s like to be a butterfly?
- Can the caterpillar do anything to stop itself turning into a chrysalis?
- If you could choose between being a butterfly or a caterpillar, what would you choose? Why?
- The way the caterpillar turns into a chrysalis and then a butterfly is a natural wonder and miracle. It’s also a wonderful miracle that will raise us from the dead and give us completely new kinds of bodies that can do amazingly different things than we can do during our life on earth.
- Tell the children that God never wanted us to die. He made us to live forever, but sin has caused us to feel pain, get sick, and die. So God is very sad when we die, and He wants to comfort us when we’re sad about other people dying. He is longing for the special day when Jesus comes again, and He can bring us back to life. We will be even more wonderful and beautiful and stronger and healthier than a fragile butterfly—with bodies that will live forever and never be hurt or sick. God is an amazingly loving God! It’s so good that even though it’s very sad when people die, God has given us hope to comfort and encourage us.
- Have each child draw around one of their hands on a sheet of thick paper and cut out the outline. If you have only one child, draw around both hands.
- Write some comforting and hopeful Bible texts on these hands.
- Work together to form these hands into the shape of a bowl or nest, using paper glue or double-sided sticky tape to stick the shapes together.
- Think of the names of people you know who are facing death in some way, or who have been recently bereaved. Write their names on slips of paper and put them in your nest.
- Hold the nest as you pray together that God’s words will encourage and comfort these special people. Ask God what you can do to help comfort them and give them hope too.