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Why, Why, Why - Issue 243
March 23, 2012
Hi there! ....

This week We are still trying to find our groove with two kids to teach, and moving back to having those two together for most of the lesson time. One thing I’m trying to do is read aloud to them for at least one hour. I know this is something that a lot of homeschooling families do but I fall asleep after about ½ hour. Don’t know why – maybe I don’t breathe properly – so we are working on that. At the moment I’m reading for ½ hour – taking a 10minute break while they start their notebook page, and then back for another ½ hour or so. Next week I want to focus on our discussions after reading – and maybe if I stop to discuss a bit more regularly that will give me the break I need. But the main reason for the discussions is to help the kids see the heart issues in the story we are reading: the character traits, the wisdom and principles being adhered to or ignored. Thinking through stories like this helps them learn much more than the facts and details.

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Why Why Why

If you have preschoolers you are very familiar with their questioning – why? Why? Why? If you have grown up children you will still remember this phase that your kids went through. Why? Why? Why?

I remember getting frustrated with all these questions. They seemed endless and they were about such inconsequential things. I know many parents go through this frustration because parents ask me – how do I get my kid to stop asking these questions – all the time! I think it is the ‘all the time’ that gets under a parent’s skin.

Frustrating though it may be, there is something to learn from these kids’ curiosity and willingness to ask for understanding.

These little kids are just trying to get an understanding of their world. Do we have an understanding of our world? Sure, we may already understand why the sky is blue, grass is green, cats turn in circles, how lightening happens and so forth. We understand why the car needs fuel, why daddy goes to work, and why kids need sleep!! But do we understand our world?

Do we know why we are married? (the God given purpose for our marriage?)

Why we have children?

Why we have family night?

Why we go to church?

Why we read the Bible every day?

Why we say grace before a meal?

Why we say please and thank-you, and good morning

Why we teach self-control, obedience, truthfulness?

Why we homeschool? (or why we send our kids to school?)

Why we do youth group

Why we do anything really? Do we understand why?

If not, are we going to be curious enough, like the pre-schooler to ask ourselves – why?

If we don’t understand the ‘why’ behind the things that we do, then it is just a mindless habit we have fallen into. It will be built on shaky ground – and when tough times come it will be the first thing out the window. Like the man who built his house on the sand – it will come tumbling down.

Often we do something because mum and dad did it before us, we grew up with doing it. It has become a habit. I’m sure you’ve heard about the lady who chopped the end off her roast every week until her daughter asked her ‘why?’ She didn’t know why except that her mother did it. So she asked her mother ‘why?’ Her mother didn’t know why either, though she had also done it for years and years. All she knew was that her mother did it, so she asked her aging mother, why did you chop the end of the roast off? She told them, “The roast was always too big for my pan, so I chopped the end off!” Hardly a reason for every generation to do the same thing! And yet without understanding that is what happened.

But even if you have stepped out into something new that your folks didn’t do, and maybe don’t even understand, you can easily slip into habit – it was a good idea at the time, our friends where doing it, the church was doing it. Is there a deeper reason; a reason for why this would be the right thing for you and your family to do?

I would like to think that our ‘why’s’ come from loving Jesus and knowing His Word. There may be some things you do simply for fun – but at the same time it shouldn’t contravene God’s Word. So you need to know God’s Word - and know it for yourself.

We need to know why we do the things we do. We need to tell our children why we do the things we do.

  1. The first generation (and that may be you) will be stirred up to do something, they will know why they are doing it.
  2. The second generation (your children) will do it because mum and dad did it; it becomes a duty, a habit and they are comfortable with it.
  3. The third generation (your grandchildren) will simply say, “Can’t see the point of this” and stop doing it.

You don’t want to see this happening to the things that God has put on your heart. I want to see the passion we have for God and His Word passed on to the next generation – and the next. But if I don’t start with the why then I’ll simply be passing on a form – which will turn into a lifeless form.

This is what it means to be an intentional parent. We have to know our ‘why’ – and then set out with our ‘how’. We get so focused on the how – how are we going to do this or that: the action, the doing. But to build strongly we need to start at the beginning and ask those questions – why? Why? Why?

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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