Why is the grass green? Why is the sky blue? Why do birds fly? Why do flowers smell pretty? Has your two year old ever bombarded you with questions that their little minds are just burning to find answers to? Julie Young shares her journey with “why” she used to give long-winded scientific explanations to the endless questions of the two year old living in her house:
My 4th child is two years old and I find myself responding to her with, “Because that’s the way God made it.” Or, “God knew you’d like to smell that flower so He made it smell pretty for you.” Thankfully, for now, that is a perfectly logical answer to her. Someday I’ll get scientific with her, but for now, it’s enough for her to know that there is an almighty God in control of her little world and He has infinite wisdom.
I used to ask, “Why?” a lot. Then I stopped. I’m not exactly sure why I stopped. I guess I never thought to ask “Why?” If someone had asked me why I signed my 5 year old daughter up for the latest popular sporting activity many years ago, I’m not sure what my answer would have been. Well, because all of her friends were doing it, I suppose. It seemed like a good idea. Never mind the fact that practice and her games were during our family dinner hour which meant that 2-3 days a week we didn’t eat together because I was grabbing hamburgers at the drive-thru for the kids. If someone had asked me why I left my warm bed at 4 a.m. one chilly February morning to stand in line outside the most popular Christian preschool in town to make sure my 4 year old had a coveted space next year, I’m not sure what my answer would have been. It’s just what you do. All of my Christian friends were doing it.
I had a lot of good company that frosty morning as I cradled a warm mug of coffee. Never mind the fact that my daughter would be away from her younger siblings for 12 hours a week where I would lose valuable opportunities to teach her how to properly socialize with other children. Never mind the fact that the next day would probably be spent undoing the inappropriate behavior and habits she would pick up at that half day of preschool. Never mind the fact that I would be packing up all of her younger siblings twice a day, disrupting their routine, to shuffle her around. It’s just what everyone was doing.
We did get that coveted preschool spot. And, thankfully, 2 weeks before school was to start, I started asking why again. “Why am I doing this?” “Is this God’s best for our family?” Or “Am I doing this because that’s just what our culture says is the best?” “Does this line up with our family goals?” There are so many really good opportunities available to us and our children these days. But where do you draw the line, and when do you say ‘No’?
Philippians 1:9-11 is a verse that I repeat often and turn into a prayer: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.” I want to be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. I want my children to be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. I can’t do that unless I am discerning what is best. But I need to look beyond our culture to do that. I need to be a thinking parent. And I need to ask ‘Now, why would I want to do that?’ Yes, we opted out of the preschool, because in answering the “why” my husband and I decided this was not the “best” for our family.
This article was contributed by Julie Young and is used with permission from Growing Families International and found at www.growingfamiliesusa.com.