By: Staci Stallings
This story actually happened about 5 years ago. It was just before the release of the movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” My daughters were 5 and 8 at the time. I was fascinated by the movie, so when the TV show about the making of it came on, I was excited about watching it. We all happened to be at home that night and sat down to watch. Toward the end of the show about the making (not the actual movie), my husband said, “Are you sure we should be watching this?” I was surprised. “What? Why?”
He pointed over to the two girls, who were staring at the TV, wide-eyed. But we were at the end of the show, so we watched to the end. When it was over, Kayla, the five-year-old came over to me in the chair. She had the saddest little eyes I’ve ever seen. She crawled into my lap and put her little head down. “Mommy, did they kill Jesus?”
My heart broke. I never even thought about the impact just the overview would be on her.
“Yes, sweetheart. They did.”
When she looked up, there were big old tears shimmering in her eyes. “But why? He didn’t do anything wrong.”
It’s been five years, and now I have a new child who is trying to figure all of this out. On Good Friday, we shut everything off from noon to three–as we used to do when I was back home. No computer, no radio, no iPod, no phone calls. My now-little-one, Andrew, listened with his sisters as we read each piece of the Passion from the Bible every hour on the hour. That night we went to Nazareth for Good Friday services. As an older Catholic church, Nazareth has beautiful statue depictions on the wall of the stations–the fourteen stories of the agony of our Lord.
Andrew sat by me in church, and I could tell he was looking around. Suddenly, he leaned over to me and said, “Mom, is that the story of Jesus dying?” I was surprised. “Yeah, it is. How do you know that?”
“Well, over here He’s carrying the cross, and over there He’s on it.”
Smart kid. Never underestimate even young children. They are watching, they are absorbing, and they are learning and understanding far more than we give them credit for!