There are many instances where my kids do things that make absolutely no sense to me — things like doing again the very thing that has gotten them hurt or in trouble, or getting upset that they’re being”blamed” for doing something they actually did, or filling their bags with all sorts of things they don’t need making it too heavy for them to lug around, or fighting about pillows when it’s time to sleep.
I often ask them why they do these things, which more often are not at all worth the trouble, because I want to try to understand where they’re coming from. I often hear “I don’t know” for an answer.
It annoys me greatly and I eventually got tired of it. I still hear their “I don’t know”s of course, but I have since reminded our girls that they should first ask themselves why, before they do something. If their answer is “I don’t know,” then they shouldn’t do it. They should stop.
At times they tell me they do something because so and so did it, and I have heard myself ask them the age-old question “If someone told you to jump off a cliff, would you?” Haha. Not everything their friends say and do, they should imitate. If they know better, then they should go with what they know. If they don’t know better or at all, then they should pause and seek help from those who do know.
We want to teach our children to be aware of themselves, not to be calculating and stiff, but to be wise. Yes they will make mistakes, but I believe they will avoid many sticky situations if they learn to assess first before they dive into anything.
If they don’t know why they’re doing something, what’s the point of doing it? If they don’t train themselves, or if we don’t help train them, to think about their own motives regarding their decisions and actions, they may end up doing anything. They may end up being influenced quickly by others. They may end up having no conviction, no integrity, no backbone.
“I don’t know” to me, can mean three things — the first two are uncertainty and indifference. I don’t want our kids to be unsure about something they’re doing. I don’t just want them to be sure about something before they do it either, because being sure doesn’t necessarily mean being right. You can be sure yet be surely wrong. More so, I don’t want them to be indifferent, following others blindly or not following anyone at all, not caring enough about what they’re doing and caring less about why they’re doing it.
The third one is the one I want for me and my children. Obviously we don’t know everything and there will be many times that we will not know. It is always good to admit when this is true, because this kind of not knowing does not make us insecure or indifferent. It is the kind of not knowing that, though sometimes keeps us guessing, makes us get down on our knees, seek God, and trust in His plans. The kind of not knowing that makes us relinquish control and submit our lives under God’s authority. The kind of not knowing that makes us grow in our faith and have a more intimate relationship with God.
I am grateful for the privilege to train our children, and when the day comes that that kind of “I don’t know” comes out of my girls’ lips, I will all the more praise the Lord.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke. Proverbs 13:1