“Why does it have always have to be like this?” whined my eight-year-old daughter. Both of my daughters react the same way to each act of differential sibling discipline, unfair choice made, or anything else that pops up on the elementary-aged “no-fair” radar.
We’ve all been on the other end of a question that we have absolutely no idea how we’re supposed to answer, let alone on a kid-appropriate level. Or, caught ourselves dead in our tracks over-explaining our reasoning to the children we are in charge of. Spiritual preparedness is the only key to responding to the wacky, weary, and out-of-bound inquiries pint-sized people ask.
Here are a few actions to find the right answers.
1. Think about it.
“ Think before you speak..." (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
I’ve often felt privy to share my abundance of knowledge on a subject in question, especially to the audience of my own children, only to realize as it left my lips that the message was probably for me. I’ll then regret not examining my own thoughts before I let them escape into thin, unprepared, air.
A little time to think allows us to craft the answer our children are after. (And let's be honest; sometimes we need space to take a breath while rational thought is restored.) A bit of time may be all you need.
2. Pray about it.
“Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God." (Philippians 4:6)
The God who created time can stretch a moment for much needed prayer. When we find ourselves in a moment that feels like it’s moving too fast, stop. Pray. Praise Him, remember who and how powerful He is. Thank Him for the gift of time to perplex over the inquiry at hand… thanks for the little people that are asking… and thanks for the opportunity to guide them to His feet. Putting Him first is the best way to apply the brakes when we’re spinning in an array of possible answers.
3. Read about it.
“You word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)
Reading the Word everyday will provide the right word at the right time. Memorizing Scripture is helpful, but just emerging our minds in it everyday will suffice. Just as in halting for a moment of prayer, insisting the day begin with a Word from Him fills our hearts with the preparedness we need. As the above verse states, He knows us. And when we let go of our grip on what we think the answers should be, He moves in our lives and illuminates the correct answers.
Parents, we’ve lived through every stage our children are about to enter… and most likely pondered every question they will ever ask. After pausing for the above actions, begin the conversation with understanding.
That’s why our children’s biggest questions can be answered like this: “That’s a great question. I remember when I wondered the same thing. Do you know what God has taught me about that?”
Megs is a stay-at-home mom and blogger at http://sunnyand80.org, where she writes about everyday life within the love of Christ.
Publication date: September 1, 2016