I don’t know all the answers.
I know that doesn’t surprise those of you that know me. I am a life long learner and I love to ask questions.
(much to the annoyance of my husband, our son, and I am sure, my three sons-in-law)
They don’t like it when I ask questions during ball games. How else am I going to learn the intricacies of the game? I just want to know why the football coach threw down his clipboard or why the baseball umpire ejected the coach. Ok, so I am more interested in the personal interactions of the coaches, players, and officials than the game itself, but I am watching.
We all learn by asking questions. Children go though stages when they ask many more questions than at other times. We get weary of answering, but that is how we as humans learn.
We are much more likely to remember information that we inquired about than if we are just fed facts. Our brains are “wired” to process immense amounts of information, yet MEMORY is tied to connecting information according to usefulness. Our brains are amazing at sorting.
That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to answer our children’s questions. If they ask a question – they want an answer. If we don’t answer their questions, they will begin to find others who will. Those may not be the people who will give our children good or correct answers. Peers are a ready source of information – some positive, some questionable, and some down right negative.
Be the adult who answers questions.
But what about when we don’t know?
Some possible responses are:
- Be honest. I am highly suspect of anyone who knows it all – even if they do listen to NPR.
- “I don’t know, but I will help you find out.” This allows our children to see where we look for answers ourselves.
- “Let’s call and ask…..” Let your child see that there are others you recognize as an expert in a certain area.
- “I don’t know for sure, and people I respect think differently about this.” (questions about heaven, Jesus’ return, etc.)
- Google it. (be careful – do this together with your child)
God knows that we don’t know it all. If fact, James gives us advice about what to do in James 1:5-6
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
We are encouraged to ask God, and ask with faith that He will answer. Yet, sometimes we know that God waits to respond or chooses to keep silent in certain areas for our good. We do this as parents or grandparents, don’t we. We don’t tell our small children that we are taking them to Tweetsie next week because they will find it difficult to wait, or to do what they need to do today.
God also tells us that we don’t know everything, nor will we until we meet God face to face.
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
What a wonderful promise!!! God is so awesome and His plans for us are beyond our human comprehension.
One day we will know it all – with perfect clarity. We can share that with our children and grandchildren.
I will never forget – because it was one of those moments seared in my memory – Elizabeth Elliot speaking to 10,000 college students at Urbana in 1973 sharing the following –
“I don’t know … but I know the One who does.”
My now 32 year old son’s response at age 4 to my asking him why he asked me so many questions. ” But mom, that’s how I learn!” Out of the mouths of babes.