People say that in the current generation, kids do not need to go to school for knowledge anymore, as the sum of almost all knowledge is now available to most people via the Internet.
People also say that kids today have access to more information than their parents ever had at the same age. It means that children today have as much or even more information and knowledge at their fingertips compared to their parents.
Today’s parents therefore cannot fool their kids with factoids they picked up while growing up. They cannot give pat answers anymore.
The questions kids ask today are no longer about “What” or “When” or “How” but “Why”.
I don’t know about you, but as a parent of a 13 year old, a 10 year old and a 5 year old, I get asked “Why” about almost every topic under the sky. While I initially was tempted to get exasperated, I took a deep breath and started to realise that the “Why” questions are actually necessary for us to ponder. Too often we are so busy doing stuff in life that we rarely think about the reasons we do them in the first place.
Some questions I took for granted but did not have a good answer, even to myself:
- Why do we have to go to school?
- For so many years?
- Learning what we learn?
- Why are there bad people in the world?
- Why do they often go free?
- Why is the world so unfair?
Even in the faith, so many questions are not so easy to answer if you don’t just quote verses from the Bible:
- Why do we belief in Christ?
- Why do you belief in Christ?
- Why must I belief in Christ?
- Why must we go to church?
I realised that by allowing kids nowadays to ask these questions, and if we take them seriously, we adults can learn a lot about ourselves when we sit down to answer them. If we genuinely seek the answers, when we find them, we can be more confident in many of life’s instances because we realise:
- Who we are
- Who we can be
- Who we are called to become
So how can we equip ourselves to answer our kids?
Firstly we ourselves need to read widely in general and deeply in some topics. There are good books in all types of topics. Articles online are also available.
Some topics kids are bound to ask are:
- The human body
- The growing up years and changes to the human body and mind
- Why we act the way we do
- Unfairness in the world
- Ethical behaviour
- Our purpose in life
- Is there more than all this?
- Where do we go when we are gone? Why?
Secondly, we need not be confined to reading nowadays. We can watch a multitude of videos on YouTube regarding topics we want to explore further or dive into deeper.
Our challenges come not only in being well read, it is having reflected on all these stuff, to come to our own conclusions, made some decisions, identify those we are firm about and why, be open to be challenged in our opinions, and be ready to defend our stands. Then also to be ready to admit that in certain cases, we ourselves are still unsure, and that we are still searching for the answers, and that even when answers are unclear, what are our current conclusions. Be open to then listen to the child’s questions, his/her own thoughts, what their own rationales are in coming to their conclusions. Then discuss the answers together.
In this day and age, parents are also often pressured to let children believe whatever they want, and hence many parents are unwilling to force their own thoughts and beliefs unto their children. In all areas of life, from what food is good for them, to what hobbies they like to participate in, all the way to what faith to believe in and what types of ethical behaviour to live by.
For non essentials in life, I have no solid rock to stand on. If parents want their kids to decide on their own, they may do so.
For essential things like faith and ethics and fairness and etc, I strongly believe that we are granted the responsibility to be parents, to bring up our children rightly in the faith that we ourselves belong to and walk in. If we truly believe in our faiths, there is no way we can tell our children to believe in anything they want to when they grow up.
Therefore, share your faith, live your faith, show your faith, to and with your families, especially with your children. There will be questions. Why? Why like this? Why must be like that?
You need thus to be prepared to answer. In words, in deeds, in truth, in consistency, in weakness and in strength.
Undergird all the study you do with prayer. Pray that you are doing God’s will. Pray that God sustain you and your family through this journey called life. Pray that Holy Spirit speaks to you and your children as your family interact. Pray that we are kept humble at all times.
Continue to pray and then to live as Christ followers …
1 thought on “Parenting Perspectives 7: Know Your Whys”
Thank you, John, for this beautiful sharing and reminder to spend more time listening to the hearts of the little ones.