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April 22, 2014 / BTM

Getting Kids To Ask Questions About Their Faith

boredomOne of the goals of Christian parenting is to make sure that our children are launched into adulthood with a mature, intact faith that will shape and guide their decisions in life.

Natasha Crain of Christian Mom Thoughts suggested that kids who ask questions about their faith are thinking about it and personalizing it.  A personalized faith is more likely to stand the test of time than one that is just borrowed from you.  There are certainly other measures to determine if your child has personalized their faith, but asking questions is a useful means to make sure they are.

Christian parents need to make their homes places where questions and doubts about Christianity and God can be raised.  Doubts and questions are not something that we should be afraid of.  I’ve been thinking about how to make this part of our relationship with our children. If your kids aren’t naturally discussing or asking questions about their faith now, I’d suggest that you find ways to start that process.  Last week I provided an object lesson that you could use to illustrate to your kids the importance of being honest about the doubts or questions all of us have as Christians (see: Can Your Kids Be Honest With You About Their Struggles with Faith?).

We recently introduced the idea of asking questions about our faith over dinner by adapting an activity that our 8 year old does in school.  Every Wednesday, our 8 year old’s teacher invites the class to ask him questions about anything.  He then sets about researching the top few questions and presents the answers to the class sometime over the course of the week.  The activity is called Wonder Wednesdays.

We introduced our own version of Wonder Wednesdays over dinner.  We invited the kids to ask a question that had to do with God or Christianity or the Bible.   I wondered how it would go – I wasn’t sure how readily they’d come up with questions.

As it turned out, neither of them had to think at all about a question about their faith.  Both had immediate questions in their minds.  They were:

“I don’t get how God can be everywhere at the same time.”

and

“I wonder what heaven is like.”

At this point, there’s something really important for parents to practice: don’t preach or treat your kids questions as unimportant or trivial.  In fact, answering questions by asking questions is a great way to get your kids more interested in the answers.  Here’s an example of how we replied to the questions:

“What do you think is one reason God might be able to be everywhere at the same time?”

“Is there anything different about God that would make Him capable of being everywhere at the same time?”

“Just because we can’t do the same thing, or we don’t have an example of something being everywhere at the same time, does that make it impossible for God to do so?”

This made answering the questions into a discussion, rather than a sermon.  It also enabled our kids to begin to think about how to formulate answers to their questions themselves.

On the topic of heaven, our kids got to learn what we know and don’t know about heaven, and how mom and dad have questions of their own on the subject!

My intention was for my husband and I to participate in the activity by asking questions as well.  This will illustrate that Wonder Wednesdays are a family activity, not just one for the kids.  Plus it will model that having questions about your faith is normal and healthy.  The problem was that we ended up spending so much time discussing our kids’ questions as a family that we didn’t have time for more questions from us!  I’m hoping that next time we can find a way to include questions by us as well.

The plan right now is to have Wonder Wednesdays on the first Wednesday of each month.  It’s a perfect dinnertime topic.  We’ll see how it goes, but I suspect that in the future we may need to spark questions by asking everyone to come up with a question on a certain topic, such as the Bible, who God is, maybe certain theological topics, etc.  I haven’t brainstormed these yet, but will in the future if we begin to need them.

There are clearly other times that you could bring up questions about your faith: during family Bible reading, after church, or whenever opportunities arise, but Wonder Wednesdays allows your kids to ask questions on any topic.  I wonder if we’ll be surprised by what is asked!

What ideas do you have to spark discussion and questions about God and Christianity with your kids?  Please share them with us!

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