Why? Why? Why?
If you are a parent, then you know the exasperation your kids cause you with the endless “why’s”.
Since when did we parents become answerable to our kids? Who gave our kids the idea to throw a “Why?” at the end of our instructions? When was “just do it” become insufficient? As it is, we get harassed by people, policies, bosses, wife (just kidding) and many other things we don’t get to control. After a long day of being answerable and reporting to superiors, we come home to exercise some authority over the band of people we know we have command, and they hit us with endless “why’s”.
For many parents, we get irritated at the fact that our kids are questioning our authority. At times, if we are being honest, we get irritated because we don’t know the answer to their “why”.
Now it’s true, children have to honor their parents. Unquestioned and immediate obedience is required. Children have to know the hierarchy of authority in their lives and respect it. At the end of the day, we are the parents. We know what’s best for our kids, our intentions are to protect them and safeguard their future. God has entrusted the children to us, so it really is our responsibility to guide our kids. Moreover, we pay the bills; and like what they say: as long as you live under my roof, you live under my rules.
What I’m about to say in the below section does not replace the truths I’ve just mentioned.
All the “why’s” of our kids might not be a very important thing, but here are some reasons I enjoy responding to the many why’s of my kids.
When time is limited and when the kids come to us asking “why?”, it actually gives us an opportunity to have a conversation with them. Although the easier thing to reply would be “because I said so.”, I would usually (not always) take that moment and make it into a conversation.
Conversation (communication) is the primary platform by which we build a relationship with our kids. When we shoot down their curious minds, we are shutting down the platform for a healthy relationship.
2. We Know Them
When the kids come with their “why’s?”, it gives an opportunity to know their world, how they think, and the way they reason. When we silence their “why’s?” we also limit getting to know our children.
And because we want to know our kids, we at times need to hold back from giving a judgmental verdict and learn to listen to them and reason out to them.
Many parents complain that their kids don’t talk to them. They just shrug their shoulders and give one-word answers. They put the onus on the kids.
There is a big part we parents play in this equation. When we give in to the urge of shutting down our kids “why’s?”, we inevitably build a wall between us and our kids. They end up seeking advice and inputs from sources we wish they wouldn’t go to.
But taking the time to communicate, know them, create a sense of openness where our kids would know it’s safe for them to come to us when they grow up and go through challenges of life without being judged.
4. Point them to Jesus
All the “why’s?” Ultimately an opportunity to point our children to Jesus. In a world where there are innumerable sources that are competing with us to instil values in our children. These conversations give us an opportunity to deposit the word of God in them and becomes moments helps us build conviction in our children.
These are favourable moments for us to do what Proverbs 22:6 says “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it”
So as easy it is to dismiss our children or tell them “just do it because I said so”, let’s not miss the moments their “why’s” presents us and use them as opportunities to have conversations, get to know them, create a sense of openness and point them to Jesus.