Over the next several months, the Faith-Building Fun ideas will focus on how to open your child’s spiritual windows. For additional insights about ways to nurture your child’s faith, read the book Opening Your Child’s Spiritual Windows by Cheri Fuller.
The Curiosity Window
We all know the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat;” but our children aren’t cats, and investigating the unknown is an important task of childhood. Every parent knows the exasperation of their child’s unrelenting “why” question. The desire to know more is a fundamental task of childhood. Exploring new things, being introduced to new information helps children feel more confident and secure as they learn to navigate the ups and downs of everyday life. Many experts say curiosity may be the most important factor for children’s brain development and the most important factor for the academic tasks they face in school.
But what about a child’s curiosity about God? About life? About faith? How can parents enrich their children’s faith development by engaging their questions about God? What keeps parents from nurturing their children’s spiritual curiosity?
Most parents want their children to know and love God; however, they are often fearful of knowing how to respond to the questions their children have about God and his involvement in the world. Following are some basic principles that can help parents engage in conversations about God:
- Be a student of God’s Word. Spend time in reading the Bible for yourself. The more you read and reflect on God’s Word, the better able you will be to converse with your children.
- Fan the flame of your children’s curiosity by encouraging questions. Create “kitchen time” or “play time” when you talk with your child about nothing in particular but provide space for meaningful interactions.
- Create “explore” times when you intentionally play a game or engage in an activity that stimulates interaction and discussion. For example, put a card with a question under their cereal bowl or in the car which will provide an opportunity for conversation. Do this activity in reverse where the children get to write a question for you.
- Handle their questions with enthusiasm and genuine interest. Don’t shut down their curiosity by disinterest or indifference.
- Don’t feel like you need to have all of the answers. As your children ask you questions, or wonder about something, pursue the answer with them. Your children will feel like they are an important part of the process of discovery when you include them in finding the answer.
- Accept your children’s outside-of-the-box answers. Instead of correcting or criticizing, listen to your children’s perspectives and explore other options with them as they come to a new understanding of the issue or question at hand.
- Be comfortable in the mystery of God. Some questions have no specific or concrete answer, but you can always stand firm on the character and heart of God. Remind your child that even when there are things that you don’t know, God is sovereign and in control. He can be trusted.
- Use the resources provided on this page to help you navigate your children’s questions.
Enjoy the natural curiosity of your children. Encourage them to ask questions and engage the pursuit of the answers with them. You’ll both, parents and children alike, learn to appreciate one another in new ways as you satisfy your curiosity.