Questions, questions, questions. Just what every parent wants, more questions! However, your children’s questions are an invaluable tool to help make you a better parent. The questions they ask provide you a window into their heart. Their questions tell you what is important in their world. Questions tell you if your child is sad or happy, what he values and what he doesn’t. Questions are huge!
Moses anticipated that the law of God would be so rich and stimulating that it would bring questions from children (Deuteronomy 6:20-21). This is because the word of God does penetrate deeply into the heart. God’s truth is unsettling because it demands change. The light of the Spirit shines into the dark corners of your children’s hearts. When instructions are given with gentleness and pleasant words, when the truth is given with the grace of the gospel, good questions will come.
When children are young, their questions may seem to be about things that are mundane. So we tend not to take these questions seriously. This is not wise. What may appear mundane to an adult, may be hugely significant to a child. So it is important to take your young children’s questions seriously in order to build a strong relational foundation. This will encourage them to continue to ask you questions about things that matter to them for the rest of their lives.
How can you cultivate good questions, the ones that will open the window into the hearts of your children? James gives you the tools you need to invite questions that show you your child’s heart. The Holy Spirit’s wisdom from above will show your children that you are eager to know them and that they will be heard with an open heart that wants to serve them and be a refuge for them. Let’s look at how James 3:17 makes this possible. Here is the verse:
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
Let’s break this down:
“Wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable and gentle.” These precious qualities of the Spirit let your children know that your motives are pure and that you will receive their questions with gentleness and peace.
Next, “open to reason” assures your children that you will hear them out in a way so that they know you truly understand the reason behind their questions. This is important! This means they will have no fear of being snapped at for asking a question. This means that your children know that their thoughts and concerns matter to you. They will know that they will not be shut down! Being open to reason is a relationship builder!
Finally, “being full of mercy and being impartial” means that your children’s questions will be answered with grace and love. They will know they are being listened to with respect and honor.
Wisdom from above helps you to hear the questions that truly matter to your children. In turn, these questions give you the insight you need to offer the healing power of the gospel to your children in every circumstance of their lives.
Questions, they really are a good thing!
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.