By Beth Groh
As parents we often get strange reality checks about what our kids are really hearing and understanding.
We THINK we’re on the same page…but think again.
A vivid case was years ago—when our daughter, Christina, was at the I-must-know-everything age of six.
She peppered me with questions all the time, needing to immerse herself in my grown-up world. One day, she was relentless as she rode in her booster seat while I drove in an unfamiliar outlying area. She asked me, time and again, “Where are we now? What road are we on?”
For awhile I played along and tried to explain in terms she could understand. But after yet another, “What road is this,” I finally gave up and simply replied, “Highway 152.”
After a loud sigh, and an indignant groan, she said, “I didn’t ask you how much you weigh. I asked what road we’re on.”
I laughed. And I remembered…don’t assume your children understand what you mean.
That same lesson should be applied to the fundamental truths of our faith.
Just because you may take your children to church…just because you may read the Bible or Bible stories to them…just because you make an effort to share the core truths of the Bible, never, ever assume that there’s not room for the devil to cast doubts and misunderstandings.
Man’s world is always vying to dominate your children’s worldview, the lens through which they see and interpret the world around them. God commands us to provide our children a biblical worldview through His Word.
That’s why we must check—and recheck—not just what our children are hearing or memorizing, but what they’re truly understanding.
How? Well, like Christina, we ask questions…and more questions. Then we listen, truly listen.
Don’t think of it, either, like you’re their teacher asking multiple choice questions for a test, such as, “How many days was Jesus tempted in the desert?” Or, “How many disciples did Jesus have?”
Sure, that reveals whether children have been listening to stories—but says nothing about their core beliefs.
Why not, instead, ask and engage your children in conversations about core tenets of the faith?
“Was Jesus really man or really God?” (A: Both)
“If God’s so powerful, why did he let His Son die?” (A: His love was bigger!)
“Why do people sin?” (A: Thanks, Adam and Eve)
“How does someone know they’ll go to heaven?” (A. God always keeps promises—and says those “who believe and are baptized” shall be saved.)
We may be surprised that, through the childlike gift of faith given by our Savior, our children may have a deeper understanding of His Word than we do as adults.