Men, what if your kid asked you, “At night when there are no stars, where do they go?” As a brilliant, educated, and thoughtful dad you could instantly respond, “They are hidden by clouds.”
Well done! The question is answered. The kids are satisfied. And you can get back to whatever screen you were engaged with. But Dad, there may be a better option. How about stirring their little minds by answering their question with a question: “Where do you think they are?”
Critical thinking for kids
If they hesitate, prompt them with additional questions.
“Are the stars still there?”
“How can something be there, and you not see it?”
“Are your eyes open?”
“Is there something in the way?”
“What are stars anyway?”
“What if a star was a lot closer? What would it look like?”
“Could the sun be a star?”
You see where this is going, right? Then, of course, you can always insert a silly question.
“What if all the stars just decided to play hide and seek?”
“What if it’s God’s birthday and He blew out all the stars because He thought they were candles?”
As they get older, your questions can help your children dig deeper intellectually and soar higher spiritually.
“Where do the stars go during the day?”
“What’s more important, the moon or the stars?”
“If you were lost, could you use the stars to help you get home?”
“How did the stars get there in the first place?”
In the give and take of Q&A, you will discover all kinds of teachable moments. You should even feel free to throw in a little biblical lesson once in a while.
“You know in the Bible it says that if you lead others to know about God, you will shine like the stars forever” (Daniel 12:3).
“In Revelation, Jesus is called ‘bright morning star,’ what do you think that means?”
This brings us full circle to the inspiration for this brilliant method of teaching your kids to think for themselves. Quite often, Jesus answered a question with a question.
In Matthew chapter 22, the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus held up a denarius and replied, “Whose likeness and title are on this coin?”
In Luke 10, an expert in the laws asks, “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
In Mark 8, Jesus’ disciples questioned, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?” In response, Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
So dad, next time your kid comes to you with a question, ask yourself:
“What would Jesus ask?”
Almost always, the best parenting strategy is to extend any question they have into a longer, engaging, mind-expanding dialogue. That’s how they learn to think for themselves.
When they’re older, you won’t always be around to respond to their questions with questions. But by that time, you will have taught them to silently ask themselves enough questions so that every problem they face is considered thoughtfully and thoroughly.
For now, they still need you to keep asking questions.