Kids are curious. It’s one of the most entertaining and frustrating things about raising them. When my son was little he asked questions about everything. Some days it felt like he asked about 3,295 questions a day. When he was about four, he started asking so many funny questions that I eventually started keeping a list of some of the funniest things he asked:
[After asking what our driveway is made out of] “Well, I don’t think concrete sounds like a real word, so what is it really called?”
“How do we get money?” [After my explanation of how we get money] “Well, how do we pay for things?” [After I tried to explain how a debit card works, which is harder than you might think.] “So, like, the store takes our money from the card and then gives it back?” Oh, I wish kid.
“Why do you tell me you love me so much?”
“Why is going to school important?”
My son: “What are those things called?”
Me: “What things, bud?”
My son: “You know mommy, those THINGS.”
[After driving down a road that was closed to all traffic except local traffic, which we were] “Mommy, those construction signs mean the road is closed and you drove through them. That was wrong. Are the police officers going to come find us?”
[After looking at the frost on my car this morning] “Mommy, why are there snow flags [His word for snowflakes] on your car?”
[When we were in the car one cold winter morning and the defrosters had been on for a while and the frost was staring to melt] “Mommy, why is there water on the car, but it’s not raining?”
“Why does Jackson get to wear his hair cool [Jackson had a mohawk] everyday and I don’t?”
Some of these questions were easier to answer than others. And as he got older the “easy” answers like, “Because God made it that way.” or “That’s just the way it is! Oh, look, a doggy!” didn’t work anymore. He wanted details and he somehow could always tell when I was evading the real answer. I tried my best to answer his questions as best I could, in a way that he could understand.
Now that he’s 10 and my daughter is seven, the questions are still coming, but they’re getting harder – mostly because so much of what they ask about are things I’m not even sure how to answer myself.
“Mom, why are those people at war?”
“How do people decide who to vote for?”
“Mom, I’m safe at school, right?”
“How do you know who you should marry?”
“You and dad aren’t going to die, right?”
“Why can’t people just be nice and not hurt each other?”
It’s a beautiful world we live in, but it can also be very sad and painful. Our kids pick up on a lot online, from the news, and from us. As adults we struggle to understand the hard and painful things about this world and it’s harder still to explain it to kids.
I don’t have an easy answer and I’m definitely not an expert. I think what we can all take comfort in, however, is that we have God on our side. And as long as we love our kids and set a good example for them, we’re doing the best we can.