Lessons From Abraham About Conversing with Our Kids
If your child has already gone through that “Why? Why? Why?” phase, you’ll understand what I’m about to say.
Sometimes our kids’ unending questions can get so annoying that the “Because I said so!” response can’t be far behind.
Nothing squelches the chance for a good conversation quite like that phrase—one uttered by millions of exasperated parents since time began. While there are times when “Because I said so!” is gonna have to be good enough (even God basically says that to Job and his friends), I’m becoming less satisfied with this strategy as my girls get older.
I’m realizing two things: First, I want to have quality conversations with them, which gets harder (not easier) as they grow up
Second, “because” is a word—not a reason. At least that’s what I tell my girls when their answer to my question, “Why did you do that?” is simply the word “because.”
My latest inspiration for getting better at conversations with my girls came from a passage in Genesis 18. This is where Abraham is having a conversation with the Lord about the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?” Abraham asks.
God answers: “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
What if there are 45 righteous people, Abraham asks. God answers: “I will not destroy it.”
What about 40 righteous? “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
What about 30? “I will not do it.”
Abraham asks again about 20 righteous. God answers: “I will not destroy it.”
And what if only 10 righteous people can be found? “I will not destroy it.”
Um, yeah… this is sounding just like a lot of my “Why? Why? Why?” conversations with my 5 year old.
This is where God, the Father, shines in the conversation with Abraham:
• God is patient with Abraham. He answers each question.
• God is specific, not broad, with each answer. He provides Abraham with only the information he needs. Nothing more, nothing less.
• God doesn’t get impatient, shut down the conversation or just spill the beans about his full plans for Sodom. God knows that 10 righteous people won’t be found there, but God lets Abraham learn that for himself.
Can we do that with our kids?
Provide specific answers—without too much information.
Allow the conversation to continue, even when the questions seem repetitive.
This post was written by Leon Wirth.
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