By Jim Whiteman, Headmaster, Westside Christian Academy
Ah, the profound questions of children! “What if you could ask God about anything? What would it be?” That was my own inquiry to WCA students recently as I wanted to get a pulse on their thinking. Care to hear the top questions, the poignant and profound? Who says young children don’t think deeply?
Why? is one of the questions that emerges from the minds and mouths of our children well before they ever get to school:
Why do I have to take a bath?
Why isn’t daddy home yet?
Why did my goldfish die?
Why can’t I have ice cream for dinner?
“Why” questions can exasperate us as parents because of the frequency or make us feel inadequate as because of their depth. If we don’t nurture this questioning, though, we eventually miss out on deep discussions. Sometimes our children just stop asking us.
Our students are asking God:
Why would you make the world? (gr 1)
Why did Adam & Eve sin? (gr 2)
Why did you let sin enter humanity? (gr 5, 8, 9)
Why am I here? (gr 4,5,9) Why am I me? (gr 9)
Why do you not stop ISIS reign of terror? (gr 4, 5)
Why does my uncle have cancer? (gr 5)
Why did you take my grandma so soon? (gr 8)
Why do you let Christians get persecuted for their faith? (gr 7)
Why did you create us knowing you would have to send your son to die on the cross?(gr 8)
Why doesn’t God need a wife? (K)
How? is sometimes the question of wonder. May we never stop wondering with our children.
How did you (God) make the world? (gr 2)
How can seeds grow? (gr 1)
How do I know I am saved? (gr 5, 6)
How were you (God) always in existence without being made? (gr 6)
How did you (God) make people? (gr 1)
How can you (God) take away my sins? (gr 1)
Heaven is always a topic of curiosity. Aren’t you curious? Students of all ages have inquired:
What is heaven like?
Will there be pets in heaven?
Will we eat in heaven? Work?
Will my friend be in heaven?
What will I look like in heaven?
What is going to happen in my future? Hmm… If God did answer this what would we do with the information? Live in peace or fear? This question, or a rendition of it, was asked by students in first grade and ninth and most in between.
How long am I going to live? How long will I live?
Will I go to heaven?
How will my life turn out?
What is your plan for me?
Where is life taking me?
Although every age level asked this type of question, those older asked it more.
So many more questions that children have of God.
Why did Christ choose to love us? (gr 9)
What was it like before the world was made? (gr 1)
Where did you (God) come from? (gr 1)
How can you be eternal? (gr 4)
Can you help me not live in fear? (gr 7)
What is your purpose for illness? (gr 8)
Why do people go to hell if they didn’t even know anything about God? (gr8)
The gospels record that Jesus asked more questions than he directly answered. Would this become a good exercise for family devotions? What questions were asked of Jesus and what questions did Jesus ask? Are there one or two questions for which we’d like genuine answers? How can we explore them? Will they lead to other questions? What would happen if we encouraged our children to ask more questions?
I’m not really giving you advice; I’m just asking questions.
PS: One sixth grader has a question for God that Clevelanders ask every fall:
Why aren’t the Browns having good seasons anymore?
No one has a good answer, so stick to the other ones.
Jim Whiteman earned his B.S. from Bowling Green State University; Masters Education from Kent State University. He came to WCA as headmaster in 2011 with 18 years of experience as elementary/middle school principal in two area private schools and ten additional years of teaching. Mr. Whiteman also has experience as the chief development officer of a Christian rescue mission. He is very involved in a local ministry for international college students and orphanages in Kenya and India. Life verses include 2 Peter 1:3-9.
This article was originally published in our Excelsior! monthly newsletter.