Why Take the Time to Answer the Child’s “Why”?
Oh to be young again and to have the kind faith that only a child can have when they look up to their family. In the early years the child really depends on their family a lot. While growing up the child can be quite dependent on certain members of the family, asking lots of questions. Usually a child seems to know what family member can be trusted, and is willing to listen to their many questions. The other family members should not be offended. The child will grow up and become more dependent learning to love all of the members of the family.
Having the privilege of being a parent and a teacher, I have witnessed children asking many questions of “Why?” or “How come?” There are days I love those little inquisitive minds, and other days I just don’t have the patience. I try to answer their questions with a smile, and take their questions seriously; but, I have been known to give sarcastic answers on occasion. No one can be perfectly happy answering all questions asked, nor is it expected.
When it comes to the Bible, I often ask questions of clarification…because frankly, I don’t understand a lot of what I am reading, hearing, or maybe I am interpreting it wrong. If I am unsure of what His word is trying to reveal to me, I think–go ahead and ask questions. Didn’t Jesus say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these…”?
Dare I say that Jesus was calling us not to only rely on “blind” faith, but to ask questions, seek answers, and find evidence of His truth within His word?
Lately, I have wondered that if I did not ask questions and get clarification, what kind of case for Christ would I be able to make to others. Could possibly the same questions I had–be one day asked, from those of this world, to me? Would I be well equipped to answer such questions?
It seems to me that there may not be enough encouragement for this question-asking and answer-seeking process within the family of the church. I am not knocking the church at all. Most of the time, she does the best she can with those “little rascals” (like me) who tend to get off task. But, could the family possibly lack the understanding as to why the child may want an answer to their particular question asked? Could it be the family is only confident answering the child’s obvious questions, and not their “super inquisitive” questions? I fear some family members may think them not appropriate to the learning process.
The problem with choosing which questions to answer, and not answer, is that the child will leave their family and go out into the world. If the child’s family has not prepared them with a solid biblical foundation, they might encounter others that could quickly convince them that His truth does not set anyone free at all. The world may also say there is no grace or mercy in forgiveness of shame and guilt the child might have in their heart…for whatever reason they carry this burden.
Satan is always putting obstacles in the way of the child so that they will fall down. Without the proper nurturing of their spiritual growth, the family may see another soul fall away. I would hope that the family would feel great sorrow for the loss of their child, if this were to happen.
At the same time the child should take some responsibility on their own; listening to their family, heeding what they say, and becoming passionate about learning His truth and grace. Along with the growing passion of the child–the family may also grow to be confident in answering the child’s many questions, and not just the obvious questions. By not ignoring the child’s questions—the child will become better equipped for the challenges of this world, rather than having the world challenge them.
Pardon the cliche’… but it definitely takes a whole family to raise a child. Why take the time to answer the child’s “Why”? Because if the child can learn the Truth of God’s Word early on and put on the full armor of God, then they will be better equipped to make a case for Christ when they enter the world. Having that prior knowledge from having caring family could make the whole difference for survival in the world. They will be confident knowing that their faith and hope is found in Christ. All it might take on the family’s part is a little childlike faith. His Kingdom could be furthered by taking into account the innocence of the child’s questions, and taking the time to answer them.
“…sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…” ~ 1 Peter 3:15
Two Unlikely Friends
I have worked at a summer camp for many years. In fact, this summer will be my 30th year to work at the camp. There is a beautiful place called Church Mountain that the campers and counselors hike up to every Sunday. The camp director, and good friend, Nan Manning tells a story about two unlikely friends. She begins the story something like the following…
“Just up the road from my cabin is the corral. Next to it is a field with two horses in it. From a distance each horse looks like any other horse. But, when you walk by the field going up to the corral, you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one of the horses they will disclose that he is blind. They have a milky looking film over them; thus, the name given…Milky Way. The camp owners have decided not to have Milky Way ‘put down’ and they have made a good home for him.
This alone is truly amazing!
If you stand nearby the field and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell ringing in the distance. Looking around to see where the sound is coming from, you will see that it comes from a great horse, Vindicator, for whom all the campers want the honor of riding.
Along with the other horses, Vindicator is let loose in the field to rest at the end of the day’s activities. The small bell attached to Vindicator’s collar allows his blind friend knows where he is, so that he can follow him to the food and be able to eat.
As I was watching these two friends, l noticed that Vindicator, the one with the bell, is always looking behind for his unlikely blind friend Milky Way. Vindicator is making sure that Milky Way hears the bell and is able to follow him. Milky Way does respond to Vindicator’s bell by walking slowly toward him…trusting that he will not lead him astray.
After eating, Vindicator returns to the barn for the evening to rest. He is always looking over his shoulder for his friend Milky Way to make sure he is following him.”
Like the camp owner of the horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect…or because we are broken. He watches over us and brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need. Sometimes we are blind like Milky Way and need to be guided by the bell of those who God has put into our lives to lead us. Other times, we are like Vindicator able to guide others and help them get to a point where they might not have made without the proper guidance.
Every one of us has the power to make a difference by reaching out to other. We should take a vested interest in the care of others. We need to get involved and be a part of another person’s world. We all have challenges and struggles. We all have some kind of brokenness and pain that we have experienced at some time or another. The biggest lesson we have to learn is that our choices can hurt or help others; therefore, learning to recognize those who may be blind may be difficult. Yet, don’t give up. We all have different strengths and weaknesses; but, the good news is that our weaknesses are sufficient through His strength. There are some who are gifted and are able to recognize when others are broken.
We must all think, “What can we do to help others overcome their brokenness, and reach their potential?” Making a difference may be being able to bring out someone’s weakness and help them turn it into strength. The strength is not to be advantageous for one’s self; but, to be advantageous in furthering His kingdom while helping others.
Establishing good relationships with others is a great start in helping others. Although we may not always “see” these relationships, it’s nice to know that they may be near. Sometimes it’s the hope that gives us faith in what we don’t see.
I have a friend who sends me surprise notes telling me how much I mean to her. That random act of kindness goes a long way with me. It’s like the “Golden Rule” that they remind of us so much at the camp, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you”.
Let’s try to “Do unto others” and make a difference by listening out for each other’s bells. We really don’t know what kind of brokenness that another person is experiencing. Your bell may be the only bell they can hear and may follow.
So look over your shoulder, and try not to leave anyone behind. You may be an unlikely friend that someone is following to His pasture.
…Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… ~Matthew 11:28