1) Heaven is a real place - they love the descriptions of heaven in the book of Revelation ie chapter 21 verses 18-21: '
Do your best , a worker who does not need be hamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.' (2 Timothy 2:15).
5) Illness and pain and suffering are a 'normal' part of life to them. As doctors (and indeed as church members, or individuals within a society) we often see adults in mid-life who really struggle to cope when they face a bereavement, redundancy, serious illness or disappointment. Quite often it is the first time in their life that they have come across a real challenge, and there are often undertones of, 'It's not fair!', 'Why me?', 'I can't live with this situation', 'How can I keep going?' I do not want to minimise pain. However, as the Apostle Peter wrote to the persecuted church, ' So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.' (1 Peter 4:12-19) Our boys understand that people do get ill and die. They know that life can bring hardships and pain. These are lessons that many Christian parents will be seeking to teach - and I would also highly recommend Christian biographies which describe how people have brought glory to God through times of trial (reviews of Christian biographies for children are here and here). It is my prayer that the boys are equipped with the tools they need to stand firm in the face of trial when it hits them.
Of course it is not always so simple! My two year old nodded wisely as I described heaven and eternity, and then asked whether he could go to heaven now in the car, and take his toy plane with him! One of the five year olds wants to spend most of his time in heaven playing with his sister because of all the time he has missed playing with her here. And because tomorrow would be her birthday (and we always do have a cake, although a simple one with plain icing and no candles), one of them asked whether she would come and join us for cake. As with any children, their questions sometimes make me laugh, sometimes make me sad, and really my prayer is that as parents we have wisdom in knowing how best to make the most of opportunities that arise every day as they ask more and more things.
How have times of trial affected your children? Can you think of times when hardship has brought spiritual development to your family?