When I meet children, I am immediately drawn to those kids who are curious about everything. Yes, it can be exhausting to answer their endless questions but the rewards are so worth it. “How come birds can fly and we can’t?” “Why can’t dogs talk like we can? Parrots do.” “Can God swim?” “Has anyone not died?” It’s not fun when a child arrives in your bedroom at 3:00 a.m. to ask, “What are lungs for?” The temptation is to say for sleeping. When a child asks all those questions, we don’t always have to know the answers but we shouldn’t ignore them as if they had never been asked. We can start a conversation no matter how odd their questions by asking them what they think they the answer might be. That’s how conversations and problem solving starts. Even more importantly, they get the knowledge that they are being heard. With so many of us glued to our various electronic devices, we have a tendency to close ourselves off to those around us. We may be unpleasantly surprised when that comes back to bite us in the form of our kids not hearing us or just plain shutting us out.
To open a child’s hearts and minds, physically be present and really be with them in the moment. We need to ‘turn off to have turn on time.’ Unplug and grab those children who grow up so fast and help give them memories and our attention. Take them fishing; paddle a boat. Blow bubbles, wash the dog, watch fireworks, take in a sunrise, have a picnic in your living room on the floor. Visit a farm; milk a goat. Show them where eggs come from. Run outside in a rainstorm. Jump in a puddle.
Take the time to open up to the really, really big questions and have a conversation about who God is, what they think God can do and what they wish God could do. Then have them draw what they think God looks like. They will have even more questions. But isn’t that great?
Wake them up when the moon is full, talk about heaven and then spin some dreams with them. They are only children once.