Not a day goes by in my house where many, many questions do not get asked. Some of these are questions that are easy to answer, like, “Can we get an elephant and keep him in the backyard?” but others are not so simple.

Some of them are technical questions, like when my 7 year old son asks how many light years apart the planets are in the solar system or when the four year old asks how old she needs to be before she can cut up cheese slices with a real knife.

Others are the big things.

You’ve heard them in your house I’m sure.

Why do people die?
Why did that guy rob the Cenex gas station?
How come my friend John doesn’t live with both his parents?
What does God look like?

Yikes! So many questions, so little time to answer them. Kids are curious. Which is great! BUT…..

Sadly, there are times when I find myself a bit, well, lazy about satisfying their curiosity.

Sometimes it’s because I don’t know the answer off-hand (like the one about the planets), so I say we’ll look it up later. Except we don’t.

Other times I don’t want to answer because I feel like I’ve answered the same question a dozen times {such as “why does my sister get more time on the iPod?” (she really doesn’t) or “when can I change into my Tinkerbell dress?” (when I say you can).}

And maybe those smaller questions can be let go without detriment.

But what about those BIG questions? How can I answer them in the right way? Sometimes the right words escape me at the moment.

As I’m going along in my parenting journey, I’m thinking there are maybe some questions that I need to answer with care and others where it maybe doesn’t matter if I give them the deepest, most profound answer in the world.

To be honest, I’m going to forget to answer the “distance between planets” questions sometimes (although after blogging about it, I might actually look that one up!). And the repetitive questions might get a sigh before I respond.

But the BIG ones? The meaning of life inquiries? Those we as parents should definitely be ready to talk about.

So, is it okay to say “that’s an important question, let’s talk about it tonight”? So we don’t miss the opportunity to impart an essential life lesson or teach a spiritual truth in its full explanation?

Or should we simply take advantage of those character building moments, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).

Is it possible that the devil will sneak the time away from me later to keep me from helping my child understand the difference between right and wrong (or other issues) in the throes of bedtime madness?

Many times I really need to force myself to stop and answer questions that may seem simple to me but are complicated to my children. It’s hard to wrap their minds around why bad things happen or why some families are different than ours.

And it’s true, we might not have the time to talk about it later. As parents, we need to evaluate what’s really important, but in the moment that isn’t always easy to do, especially when we are busy doing other things that seem to need to take prefernce.

Yet it IS important to our children, so shouldn’t it be meaningful to us as well? Even if the subject manner is boring, it’s the conversation that shows our children that we:

  • acknowledge their questions
  • care enough to answer them
  • or, if we really can’t right that moment, make a point to come back to it later when we have learned more about it

Because if we don’t answer their questions, others will. And it often won’t be the truth we want our children to hear!

What do you do when your children ask you those big important questions? Do you find it easy to answer them or do you get stumped sometimes like I do?


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2 Comments on How to Answer the BIG and Little Questions Kids Ask

  1. I am right there with you! I think it’s perfectly okay to let them know their question is important and that you want to be able to take the time to sit down and talk it through when things have settled. I definitely get stumped by the “bigger” questions a lot of times and need that little bit of time to gather my thoughts and pray before hashing it out with them.

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