A Death Discussion with Your Kids

Lisa Cherry —  November 5, 2014

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I must confess: the first time I read of Brittany Maynard's story, my heart was moved as my mind was also conflicted!

She seemed so sweet and young and pretty.

Her cancer seemed so cruel and unfair.

Her suffering seemed so senseless.

Her solution seemed so....logical.

Surely, I am not the only who had to think again. So that makes me wonder. How will our kids do with this news story?

Will she become a heroine in this generation? Will this story be used as this young woman has said she desired?

Will it become a catalyst to re-write the rules on death and dying issues?

Today the Catholic Ethics committee made it a point to bring their clarification. Perhaps we should follow their lead and have this discussion in our families now.

I liked Joni Eareckson Tada’s article on this issue. Surely as a lifelong quadriplegic, she would have a sensitive yet principled response to the assisted suicide debate.

As we are talking about this case, we must help our children see the importance of allowing biblical values and principles guide our decisions ....rather than emotions and popular opinion.

Here are some important scriptures to consider in our discussions:


Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

Romans 14:7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.

Deut. 30:19-20 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Exodus 20:13   “You shall not murder.”  

Proverbs 12:28  In the way of righteousness there is life;
    along that path is immortality.

John 10:10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Job 14:5  A person’s days are determined;
    you have decreed the number of his months
    and have set limits he cannot exceed.

Hebrews 9:27  Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.


Image:Colonel John Britt "Nostalgic Grace" via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)  

See also:

A Death Discussion with Your Kids, part 2