Ask Your Children Questions...LOTS of questions

1:37 PMHeather

I am good at giving lectures.  Too good.  Just ask my children.  In fact, my middle child was quick to let me know this issue about as soon as he could talk.  One day when he was about 2, I was giving him a lecture about who knows what.  I got about 2 sentences into it when he put his little plump toddler fingers over my mouth and said, "Too many words, Mama.  Too many words."

You'd think I would have quit while I was ahead.  Um, a big N-O.  Because I still tend to be Way. Too. Wordy.  And, although I know that all they hear is Charlie Brown's teacher, I struggle to stop myself.  Nothing has changed--it is still probably the least effective way to reach my middle child, not to mention his brother and sister.  
Last spring, I hosted a book club for Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl.  SUCH a good read, Moms!  You really must take the time to read this book that is a quick read and chock full of great, practical advice.  And, no worries--Dannah Gresh's version for boys comes out in January 2012!  Anyhoo, back on to the topic at hand.  (SEE?  TOO many words....)   

One of the most practical parenting tips I gleaned from Dannah was to connect with your kids by asking them questions.  Instead of talking to them, ask them for their opinion or thoughts during any and all conversations, at every opportunity.  This draws them in, shows them their importance, and conveys respect for them.  When I first read the book, I immediately put it into practice, and boy, did I see success!

This is still a habit I need to refine.  Priscilla Shirer's study of Jonah was a vivid reminder of that fact.  When I was reading Jonah 4, I saw that asking my children questions--especially to point them toward repentence--is truly a Biblical practice.  Here is Jonah--fresh from the belly of the whale, probably still smelling like seaweed.  And, instead of bowing to his Father's authority, he is throwing a fit because God had mercy on the Ninevites.  Check it out!

3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life 
from me, for death is better to me than life.” 

If I were on the other end of that, I'd probably launch into lecture #76 on questioning my authority and showing disrespect.  Thank goodness our Heavenly Father knows better.  Look at his response:

4 The LORD said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”

As Jonah continues his tirade throughout the rest of Jonah 4, God continues to respond with questions.  Truly, when I think about it--how often did Jesus respond to his disciples and critics alike--by asking them questions?  Rather than assert his authority in a way that proves He is boss (as he would be justified to do)--he reaches out and draws them in.  He puts relationship over demanding respect.  

INTENTIONAL challenge:  Asking questions.  What a brilliant way to connect with others--from my children to my husband to friends and new acquaintances.  This is truly a Biblical example to follow--starting now and all day long.  But one word of warning--it requires humility and self-control to ask others to speak instead of listen.  What do you think?  Are you going to give it a try?  Would you share what happens?  Do you think I'll ever master this technique?  Are you tired of me asking you questions?  Really, can you answer me?  Will you post your comments below?


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