Getting Your Kids to Think Deeper

The things my children say–and I in response to them–would never have crossed my imagination prior to having offspring of my own. You just can’t believe the quirky quips they toss….without even trying.

At lunch time last week, my youngest–and most talkative–assessed the items on his plate. “What is this orange thing here?”
My response: “Um, you mean the orange?” (Apparently I give him too many cuties and not enough oranges).
He went on a little later to comment on the carrots, more talking to himself than anyone else: “What is the point of carrots anyway. They look like a good idea, but they don’t taste good. I just wish I was a rabbit; then I would actually like eating these.” 

That same day, Landon came to inform me that there was a blueberry in the toilet. It wasn’t a berry, but a blue bead. Apparently, my daughter had been crafting in the bathroom. Seriously???

My son Corbin is consciously aware of his environment. If something is said on a movie that isn’t theologically correct, he will announce to anyone listening, “Well, he must not believe in the real God.” Always on the look-out for what falls into light or dark, our son often asks deep questions about God, purpose, heaven, and others.

As parents, I think sometimes we feel the need to dumb down our faith (not in the way Jesus commands us to have childlike faith), but in the way that says, “Oh, this information is over their heads. Let’s just talk about a Bible story and not the how’s, why’s or life applications.” We keep the information in a neat little box and don’t stray from straight edges of its confinement. Sadly, sometimes kids have a vast working knowledge of the Bible without knowing how it applies to their lives.

I think we do our kids a disservice when we won’t explore the depths with them. Encourage them to ask the hard questions and seek out the answers together. Make Scripture reading and theological study a priority. Don’t just read the story of Moses or Noah, close the book, and say, “Well, that was nice.” Ask questions. Go deeper.

  1. Who was the character in this story and what strengths and weaknesses did he demonstrate?
  2. What attributes did God show His people (e.g. justice, mercy, compassion, patience, holiness, strength, etc.)?
  3. Why do you think God included this story in the Bible and what does it teach us?
  4. If you could be any character in this story, who would you be and why?

Aside from spiritual questions, dialogue with your kids in ways that prompts more than a one-word answer. For example, you can ask, “how was your day?” and get a shoulder shrug or a “fine.” Or you can ask, “What was the best thing that happened today?” “Tell me one thing that you learned.” “What is your favorite meal or…activity….or song….or movie…and why?” My husband is great at these conversations. As a result, we don’t just watch our kids (the what) but know more about who they are (the why)–their motivations, fears, passions, desires, etc.

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