Kids Know Things…

~By Julie Chatfield, Children’s Ministry Director

A child should be seen and not heard, a phrased coined in the early 1900s.  During this time it was thought a child’s mind was like a blank slate, void of reason and knowledge and therefore not encouraged to engage in public discussions.  While I fully support the voice of children, for a second during Sunday School this past Sunday, I wished I had not heard it.  Inevitably with kiddos there comes an uncomfortable moment when you are faced with a squirrel of a question.  In this instant it was, “What does circumcision mean?” a word found in our scripture passage that morning.  As it escaped their young lips, the question hung heavy.  All their laser-like eyes fixated on me and I could tell an answer was expected, one that would respect the minds of both parents and their offspring.  With questions like this you are forced to think on your feet and tasked with a legit answer that neither confesses nor hides.  Kids are not a blank slate, they know things! 

It has taken time to perfect my stealth like skills during these hot seated moments, and the solution simply is this.   Children should be heard.  Answer them with a question such as “why do you want to know, or what do you think it means?”  This practice of answering a question with a question accomplishes much.  In their answers you discover what they know and you can simply agree or disagree.  You model the skill of conversation, which children are still learning, and then gain an understanding of how they want the question answered.  This allows you to then cater the answer to meet them where they are. They are children and while they do know things, they do not know fully.  It provides practice in listening too and buys you time, if just for a moment to consider your response, if you actually end up needing one.  Most importantly it encourages your relationship.  Children need the opportunity to communicate.  They want to practice expressing their opinions and want to be heard.  In case you’re wondering, I was able to dodge the full meaning of circumcision.  But in the mean time we had a hearty conversation about Biblical relationships.  Like I said, kids are not a blank slate, they know things! 

Genesis 21:3-4.

Abraham named his son—the one Sarah bore him—Isaac. Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old just as God had commanded him.