Remember when your Grandma or Grandpa would tell you the story of the time in their lives when they walked up hill both ways in a snow storm to get to school? Don’t tell me you haven’t been told that story before, and if you’re going to try and tell me you haven’t, you’re lying. Kidding. Kind of.
Let’s think of that logically for a minute. Aside from the fact that some of us now use that logic on our kids when trying to reason with them while they’re complaining, hoping they realize they do not have it that bad. Up hill both ways. Up hill both ways. Ok, so logically no one is walking up hill twice to get somewhere. The laws of physics require us to go back down the hill at some point, right?
Protecting our kids in today’s culture follows the same ideas of logic as does walking up hill both ways. It’s just not possible. At some point, our kids are going to be exposed to things. They’ll be exposed to some things too early, too much or even to things that are just flat out upsetting as a parent. I hope I am speaking for most of my readers when I say, we try our best to influence our kids surroundings, especially those of us with young kids. A day will come when they’re not under our wing of protection any longer though. They will find friends they are more comfortable confiding in. They’ll have other adults they look up to. They’ll be put in situations where they’re told something for the first time.
We cannot protect them from everything but what we can do is teach them critical thinking. At a young age, it’s important to help them practice critical thinking in small ways. How often do your kids ask you ‘why’ questions. Mom, why do you have to stop at the light when it’s red? Mom, why can’t I wear a snowsuit when it’s summer? Mom, why do I have to brush my teeth? Our gut reaction is to be a problem solver. Especially when it comes to our kids. It’s easy to just spout off an answer because we’re helping them learn. But by age 3 or 4, your kids have this amazing ability to work through these problems on their own and sometimes we don’t even realize it!
Tip #1 – Ask them, ‘Why do you think I need to stop at a red light?’ Let their brain muscles go to work!
Tip #2 – Guide their thinking with more questions and give examples. ‘What might happen if we don’t stop at the red light?’ ‘What is our responsibility as a safe driver?’ ‘What might happen to other people driving by if we don’t stop at the red light?’ Help them learn how to problem solve and assess the situation on all sides.
Tip #3 – Don’t criticize them if they don’t give you an answer that you don’t agree with. At all stages, kids are just trying to figure out how the world works. Let them be curious, be cautious and wrong at times. Of course, within reason. If it were an unsafe situation, you want to make sure they know that.
Tip #4 – Keep them thinking! Starting them young with little questions helps them as they grow and come to you with big questions or are faced with big questions among friends. What a great opportunity it is as a parent to get them thinking after watching a movie together and you didn’t quite love the message in or after they hear something on the radio or TV. Take any kids movie and start dissecting it with them. What does the overall message say to us as viewers, what can we take away that could stand next to God’s truth and what in the message wasn’t in alignment with the biblical principles we follow?
Remember, these are things we can also apply to ourselves as moms and believers in ALL situations. And if you’re still not sure exactly what the Bible says on certain biblical principles, head over to the shop tab and purchase Woven Writing where in conjunction with your daily bible reading, you can dig into God’s Word like never before!
I would love to hear what kind of conversations you and your kids are having and what type of questions you’re asking to get their brains thinking!