by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
“I just came back from learning with two boys. We were learning about what was created on each day. One boy asked, ‘Who created G-d?’ How would you answer a nine- year-old boy?”
The first rule of children’s Jewish education is that it must be fun for them. If it is not enjoyable, then, as soon as they are able, they are going to run away.
I often see grown men who are still running away from teachers they had when they were small children. To this day, they refuse to put on tefillin because they were taught by a teacher who did not know the joy of the mitzvah. Instead of sharing the wonderment of the mitzvah, he forced them to put them on. You can not stuff information into children. They must be brought to see the excitement of the Torah in a happy frame of mind.
As to this specific question: First, congratulate the child who asked. Let him know that he is very smart to have asked such an excellent question. Also, it is wise to have small trinkets in your pocket to reward such good questions.
You have to answer children on their level, in ways that they can understand.
For instance, you could answer, “Imagine two characters in a comic book having a conversation. One of the characters asks the other, ‘How did you get here on this page?”
“And the other character answers, ‘Charlie, the artist, is drawing me. That is how I am here. And you know what? Charlie, the artist, is also drawing you. That is how you are here, too.’
“The other character stops and thinks for a moment, and then he asks, ‘But, who is drawing Charlie?’”
The obvious answer is, Charlie is not drawn; he is the one who is doing all of the drawing.
Learning with children is a tremendous honor and an awesome responsibility. May Hashem bless you with success in guiding those most valuable treasures that you have been entrusted to teach. Their education is our future.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא