I try my best to be open and honest with my son, age 9. I've told him all about sex, I'm honest with him about politics, and so on. When he asks questions about sensitive topics, I try to answer them. But today, I think I did the wrong thing.
I told him about Christianity.
We were making Chanukah cookies together, and somehow Christmas came up. I asked him, "do you know what Christmas is all about, anyway?"
"Santa Claus?" he replied.
"Well... that' s part of it." I continued, explaining about Jesus, Mary, the virgin birth (he didn't buy that one - remember, I'd already told him about sex), being the son of G-d, and so on. Then we got to the crucifixion.
"They did what to him?" he asked in horror. Uh, oh.
We actually looked it up on the internet, and he saw a picture of Jesus on the cross. I mean, kids see this all the time, right? But then we found a photo of a real person nailed to a cross. I mean, someone from right now. They were re-enacting the crucifixion for Easter, I guess.
Now I've traumatized him. You should have seen his face.
How do Christians explain this part of the story to kids? I should have asked our next door neighbor for advice first.
I tried to backpedal. "Well, think of all those bible stories, they're kind of gross, right? Like the Egyptians drowning in the Red Sea? Or Joseph being thrown into the pit by his brother?"
"Mom," he said, looking at me, disgusted. "They weren't putting nails through someone's hands."