Tough Questions Show Trust
As parents we are guaranteed to get questions from our kids that catch us on our heels. Shane helps us take a humble (not the easiest) approach to having difficult conversations with our kids.
“…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…” 1 Peter 5:5
How can a parent react in situations like being asked by their daughter, “How come I’m not boy crazy like my friends? Does this mean something’s wrong with me?”
The daughter asking the question above is likely taking a risk to broach this topic with her parents, and it implies a high level of trust. So what can we parents do to make it easier for our children to ask us tough questions?
To get right to it, parents will have to live in a way showing we don’t have it all together and that we need help along the way, too. Gross! Why can’t children just do what we say and not what we do? Can I get an “Amen” that child rearing was not adequately explained on the packaging when our children arrived? There should be a disclaimer of some sort at birth/adoption: “This child will require you to grow in ways you cannot possibly fathom.”
Do your children see you reaching out for help with a sense of dependence on other people? You may have a couple of go-to folks you call when things get tough, but do your children see you approach them with humility and healthy sense of neediness?
People who have been harmed in relationship (which includes each and every one of us to some degree) protect ourselves. It can cause us to become either too independent or too dependent in our relationships. I land in the “too independent” group and tend to try to handle life on my own. My life story has formed me such that depending on other people is just really hard, and I don’t like asking for help! An example from the “too dependent” group might be someone who has difficulty being his/her own person, or trouble making his/her own decisions because of fear of making a mistake.
So here’s the takeaway from this column, and it’s a paradox. Humility and vulnerability draw people, including our own children, into relationship with us. Healthy dependence on trustworthy people is a vital part of vibrant relationships.
Our desire to model life well for our children is glorious and beautiful, and may God bless us on the journey to become more like His Son. Grace upon grace to us all in the mysterious adventure of being a parent.
The journey of life simply requires help. We can’t do it on our own, and yet it also requires some level of independence. We exist both as individuals and in community, and living in that tension is not easy. Who can you trust with your hard questions?