If you read the Old Testament along with your kids you will face some uncomfortable topics which came from mainly cultural difference between ancient times and today. One of them is circumcision (bris) in Genesis 17. And this word, circumcision, will show up in many places in the OT. I can simply say that the meaning of circumcision is a sign of God’s covenant with His people. God commanded to Abraham, since then, Jewish people have been doing till today, though not all Jews.
But when it comes to detail description, the topic becomes a little hard to explain. If you try to explain in biological or scientific sense, you may say, “It is the removal of the foreskin of the male private parts.” If your kids don’t ask any more question, then they probably did not understand what that it. If they try to understand they would ask, “what private part?” “why?” “why not girl?”, etc. Even for myself I think that circumcision is terribly painful procedure. Kids would not be interested in the theological implications if they understand what it is. Before I can explain theological meaning probably I have to start with cultural difference of Jews from us. So I would say:
“Circumcision is very very old Jewish custom that has been commanded by God. I don’t know why God wanted the part of foreskin of boy’s private part, but that is what God commanded. Probably the foreskin part is not very necessary part of your body, though the cutting itself is painful. But the procedure is usually done gently and carefully by an expert who has done many times. So it may be like getting a shot today. What is important is that it is done as a sign of God’s covenant with his people. Thankfully we don’t have to do it any more in order to become God’s children. Why? Because we becomes God’s children by faith along, not by circumcision.”
Well this may not be the best answer, but at least I can explain the meaning of the circumcision without terrifying the kids. What is important for us as parents, we need to be ready for these kinds of questions from kids and work with them theologically. Children are born theologians. It is natural for them to ask a lot of theological questions which we might have inherited from church without critical reflection. Seeding gospel in the heart of children should not be brain-washed teachings or memorizing key bible versus. We need to show them word of God can make sense and difficult doctrines can be understood with the help of the Spirit in stead of emphasizing faith. Faith and reason can work together.
Since I have not received this kind of teachings from my parent nor from my church, at least I will try to guide my kids toward critical thinking and be open-minded with any suspicion and doubt they might have on the teachings of the church or even the word of God. I believe that the Truth will find them and they would stand firm on the word of God.