Whether he’s trying to avoid bedtime, processing a bible story, or just making conversation as the social guy he is… my 4-year-old asks a lot of questions.
All The Questions
As a mom, I sometimes feel like I should be an excellent question answerer. I like to have the answers, and I like to talk, so one would think that I’d be good at taking on the quandaries of my kids. With question one, I usually am. But after question 452… or even question four… I’m a little less likely to take an interrogation calmly. Frustration often ensues especially if I do not know the answers.
One day when I expressed my irritation, an older friend told me that if I stop answering them my kids may stop asking. At first that might seem nice, but she said that unfortunately it also means that those kids are less likely to want to talk with me as they get older. Because I desire to have close relationships with my boys as they grow up, I try to do my best to reply to every question, even if my answer is, “let’s talk about that later,” or “That’s a good question, I don’t know the answer.”
Usually Bingham’s questions are simple… “what’s for breakfast?” and “why do we use forks instead of spoons?” and “Are we there yet?” Sometimes, his questions are a little more difficult… “Why is it hot outside?” and “Why did God create bugs that bite?” and “Why do people add sugar to ketchup?” (Ok, that last one is mine.)
Occasionally I ask Bingham to try to answer his own question or ask him a question back. I say, “what would you like for breakfast” or “why do you think we use forks instead of spoons?” It’s delightful to watch my son’s wondering and to see my son thinking. I’m especially proud when he comes up with the correct answer or a reason I hadn’t even considered.
Sometimes Bingham asks questions that are harder than I think any little mind should have to wrestle with. I wonder, could he even understand my answer if I gave it to him? With some things, I can give a simplified answer that will suffice until my kids are ready to handle a more full version of the truth. With most responses, however, I want to be careful because I do not honestly know what my children can and cannot understand. Some little ones might become confused in troublesome ways by answers beyond their comprehension, but still others might be mislead because they really are ready for the truth. I take comfort and strength in that while I do not know the level at which my son is thinking, my wise heavenly father does. God knows my children’s heads and hearts and will direct the words from my mouth to their ears through His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).
Bingham was only 28 months old when his father died. Even before I saw my son for the first time after leaving the hospital, I knew that I would have to answer the hardest question I had never expected to answer. Where was Bingham’s daddy? Why was Bingham’s daddy not coming home? Even as the words stung me on their way out of my mouth, the Holy Spirit was faithful to give exactly what my son and I needed to hang on to at that moment.
Initially, I told my sons, “Daddy’s body was broken and there was not a way for him to live on earth anymore. Because Daddy loved Jesus and trusted in Him, Daddy got to go to Heaven to have a brand new body with Jesus. That new body stays in Heaven so we won’t get to see him again on earth.” We continued with that explanation until I began to ask Bingham to answer his own questions. “Where is Daddy?” I would say, and he would reply, “He’s in Heaven with Jesus.”
A year after the death of his dad, when we celebrated Easter, Bingham astonished me with what he seemed to understand when he said, “We will live again because Jesus is stronger than death!” I was overwhelmed. Part of me was ecstatic that my very young son was getting to know the gospel in a deeper way because of the things he was beginning to understand about death. Another part of me was incredibly sad because in my mind a 3 year old shouldn’t have an understanding of death based on experience.
Looking For Answers
Lately, Bingham has been asking me why we can’t see or feel Jesus. In one attempt I responded, “I don’t know for sure why we can’t see Jesus… I wish we could see him as easily as we see each other… I wish we could feel His hug just like you can feel mine. I think He wants to teach us to have faith so that when we do get to be with Him in Heaven it will be that much greater because we have known what it’s like to be without Him. ” He was not satisfied with that answer. One night I said, “If Adam and Eve hadn’t disobeyed God in the garden, maybe we would still be able to see Jesus now, but our sin gets in the way of our view… like how we can’t see the moon or stars when the sky is full of clouds” He still was not satisfied. Most recently I decided to respond with God’s words instead. “Dear friends, now we are children of God. He still hasn’t let us know what we will be. But we know that when Christ appears, we will be like him. We will see him as he really is” (1 John 3:2).
I do not know all the answers to my son’s questions. I do know the one who holds them, however, and trust that He is faithful to reveal himself to those that hope in Him.