This past weekend, my middle child Mr. S. came to sat on my lap while I was reading. He is close to turning six, yet he likes to sit on our lap sometimes. He is one of the most sensitive kids and also easy to make him content. I did not know he would come up with such a huge existential question. He had this question in his mind for few days. “Excuse me, dad.” I looked at him. And this is how our conversation advanced.
His eyes were wide open. In his as usual exciting voice, he asked: “Dad, I know we grow older and older. Why do people die when they grow really old?”,
Me: “It is life, hon”.
Mr. S.: “Do grandpa and grandma also die when they grow super old?”
Me: “Yes. Everyone has to die once they are born.”
At this point, my oldest son, Mr. P. also joined us.
Mr. P: “S., don’t you know that everyone has to die one day?”
Me: “Right. Some die at the very old age. Tragically, some die when they are still young. Some die in my age. And some die in the womb even before they are born.”
Mr. S. seemed to be confused after hearing the cruel reality of this life. He put his words carefully before asking: “Dad, what happens to you when you get old?”
Me: “Hons., I simply die when my days are over in this world. And I leave you memories and live in your memories for good or bad.”
Mr. S. was shaken and visibly very troubled after learning that their father also has to die one day. I will not be here on the earth to see them grow “super old”.
Me: “My dudes, don’t worry. There is hope, though. We are told that there will not be a pain, or sorrow, or tears but joy.”
Mr. P. knew where this conversation was going now. He added: “S., We don’t have to worry. We go to live with GOD.”
Me: “Correct, we have hope in Jesus, our Lord. We believe that there is a life after death. Jesus wants us to live like him. That’s why, we are commanded to love God and others, be kind and compassionate to everyone, be helpful to others and especially to poor, homeless, orphans and widows.”
Mr. S. and P.: “Yeah, dad. We learned this in our Sunday School Class. We live in God’s house.”
Our conversation ended with a hug and kisses, but this question lingered in my mind whether I am living what I have been preaching and teaching to my children. I have failed time and over as a parent to demonstrate through my exemplary living. I say this again that I learn a lot from my children instead when I try to teach them. This moment served as an opportunity to take a peek into my own dark soul and ask these questions to myself. “Am I kind and compassionate enough to love others? Am I being helpful to those in need? Am I forgiving those who have hurt me? Am I being a faithful husband to my dear wife and a loving father to my children?”