Why? It’s the question asked over and over by every child. It can become pretty exhausting trying to answer every why, yet answering why needs to become a priority and habit of every parent.
Why? Because actions have consequences, and the best instructions we can give our children are those that explain the consequences.
Why? Because it gives our children foresight, a way to reason through their decisions, test their options, and gain trust that we have their best interest at heart.
Why? Because if a child is asking why, it’s likely they need more information to gain understanding. Yes, it is wearisome, and I won’t deny there are times when questions may not be appropriate or are unanswerable since there are just some things we don’t or can’t know; however, as a general rule, we need to be the ones answering (or finding answers) to these questions to the best of our ability.
Why? Because if we don’t, they will look to other places for answers, maybe even the wrong places. While we need to encourage learning from other resources, a God-fearing parent knows that they must be their child’s primary resource of learning so they can oversee their godly instruction.
Why? Because the wisest man who ever lived wrote a book to instruct his child in this way. So, let’s follow the lead of Solomon in Proverbs and give instruction with the intent of answering those whys; whether it be before the question is asked or when it is asked, answering why is your responsibilty as a parent and part of your child’s development. Maybe you can’t teach them every little detail, but Solomon lays out some basic principles to teach in Proverbs 3. Here’s some examples of how I would use these principles to teach my children; I hope this inspires you to do the same:
- My [child], do not forget my teaching (1-2) – Why? Because as your parent I am always looking out for your best interest. I want to protect you and give you the best life possible. I may not always be perfect at it, but my teaching is for your good, striving to add to you years of life and peace.
- Do not let kindness and truth leave you (3-4) – Why? Because these are the basic characteristics of a person with integrity. When you treat everyone with kindness and speak the truth, you are fighting against the selfishness within yourself and others. Also, these actions will make you a person who can be depended on and trusted, and you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart (5-6) – Why? Because no one knows better than your Creator. There are things that will happen in life that you won’t understand. There are things that are just too great for anyone to understand. But God knows all and gives you the instruction you need. Maybe you won’t always feel like you have the perfect answer for everything, but if you will seek God’s wisdom and acknowledge Him in everything that you do, He will make your paths straight.
- Do not be wise in your own eyes (7-8) – Why? Because thinking you have all the answers leads to arrogance and arrogance leads to evil. Remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. No man knows better than God, so no man should ever see themselves as wise in their own eyes. It’s a deception that Satan uses that will destroy your life. Unfortunately, everyone falls into this trap at some point, and when you do, quickly recognize your foolishness and turn back to God from your arrogant thinking. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
- Honor the Lord from your wealth (9-10) – Why? Because God is the source of everything you have. He provides you with every blessing in life. Your wealth is a blessing and should be used to honor God. Give back to Him first and your pockets will be filled with plenty.
- Do not reject the discipline of the Lord (11-12) – Why? Because loving someone means you correct them when they are doing wrong. God, who loves you more than anything, wants only good things for you in life. Sometimes this means He must allow bad consequences to play out or use His providence to bring you to repentance. Discipline hurts but don’t loathe God when this happens. Just as a I correct you out of love when you need it, for whom the Lord loves He reproves.
This is only the beginning of the vast amount of wisdom you can supply your children, yet it is some of the most basic principles to start with. Proverbs 3:25-35 continues with another list of instructions.
Let’s get in the habit of training our children by answering why. If we do, then not only will our children gain understanding and trust us, they will also learn to fear and trust their Creator in Whom gives them all the answers they need that pertain to life and godliness through Christ (2 Pet. 1:3).
How vast is the wisdom and knowledge of You, my God. How great are Your ways. There is none who can fathom the depths of Your love and wisdom. Yet, You have given us things to learn and understand that is enough to sustain our life here on earth till we reach our hope of greater things. Help me to be the parent that nurtures this learning and understanding in my children. Give me wisdom to speak Your truth, search for Your truth, and to know when to just say “I don’t know.” Above all, I strive to train my children to fear You and trust You as You have given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Truth in love,