29 May 2014

Longing to Connect

"Hey dad, why do people smoke?"
"Hey dad, what's your favorite sea creature--other than a killer whale?"
"Hey dad, if you could be any Marvel comics superhero, which one would you be?"
"Hey dad, how much does God weigh?"
"Hey dad, does Jesus love Satan?"
"Hey dad, I was playing this videogame and there is a character. He's a frog, but he's red.  It's weird. In the game the frog battles with a blue rabbit. Dad, I rock at that game. I have earned 10,000 diamonds so far, which means that I can get a new suit for my frog. That will help me play the game."

Our children ask a ton of questions, don't they? My two little ones, ages 5 and 8, talk incessantly. My 14 year old doesn't talk as much, but she used to.  Many kids just talk a lot.  As parents, it often seems like they are talking about meaningless things. Sometimes, we just want to tell them to shut up.  Often, in our frustration, we simply ignore them. 

I was talking with a friend of mine this morning who has had similar experiences with his children and finds it equally frustrating. We sat wondering why children seem to ask so many questions. As he was talking, I pondered aloud, "what if the questions our children ask us have much less to do with their curiosity than they do with their longing to connect with us? What if our children ask us questions because they desire relationship?" 

Recently, there has been a significant shift in my thinking about what it means to be human. In particular, I think I am beginning to see the centrality of relationship in what it means to be a person created in the image of God. God created us to relate, to Him and to one another. In that light, I think the questions our children ask come first from their longing to connect and only secondarily from their interest in the answer. 

Ideally as parents, we will begin to appreciate the importance of relational connectedness. Perhaps instead of ignoring others or becoming frustrated with our kids, we can stop, listen, and connect.

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