That’s a Dad Question

It would be interesting to keep up with exactly how many questions my children ask in a day. The question can be as simple as What’s for dinner? or What time do we need to leave? I can handle those. However, the question is more often along the lines of How exactly does a digital scale work? Why can’t you put metal in the microwave? or Why are magnets north-south instead of east-west? When it comes to the latter type of question my typical response is Hmm…that sounds like a Dad question.

How do you play the guitar? – Also a Dad question.

With children as inquisitive as mine are, it comes in handy to be married to a science teacher. I could try to give them an answer on my own. I might get some of it right. However, when they go to their dad, they are assured of getting an answer that is 100% correct. And he is always willing and ready to teach.

But what do you do when the questions are even tougher? Where do you go when late at night one of your children comes to you struggling with the concepts of eternity and death? What do I do with a question such as What is my purpose? What happens when I die? Why is there war?

And, yes, I have dealt with all of those questions and more in the past week alone.

 A Question for the Father

As thankful as I am to be able to direct my children’s science questions to their earthly father, I am even more thankful to be able to direct my children’s tougher questions to their heavenly Father.

I honestly don’t know how I could possibly raise my children without the Bible to guide me. I can not imagine dealing with their fears and questions without the Bible to turn to.

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

It’s one thing to walk through this life stumbling and groping for answers on your own, answers that may or may not be correct. It’s an entirely different thing to take your children on that path with you.

A Question of Truth

The first one of those tough questions came to me when my oldest child was six years old. She asked where her grandfather would be when he died. While I had the correct answer –  He’ll be in heaven with God – I realized with that question that my role as a mother includes more than loving my children and providing for their physical needs. My role requires answering the tough questions that are sure to arise.

In the face of those questions, I need to be able to answer my children with certainty. It is not enough to just give my best shot at the answers and hope they are correct. I need somewhere to go where I am assured of getting answers that are 100% correct. I need a source of truth.

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17

These are times when the correct answer to the question comes only from the heavenly Father.

Be Prepared

The tough questions don’t come up on a daily basis. Most days are too busy for constant deep questions of eternity and purpose. However, the questions will come. They will come late at night or in the face of tragedy. We will at times be shaken from our daily thoughts into questions that are deeper. I need to be prepared to answer those questions.

Thankfully, I am not alone.

I don’t have to come up with an answer that I hope is correct. Instead, I can take my children to the Bible and let the heavenly Father answer those questions for us. He is always willing and ready to teach, and in His words are life and peace and truth. I can not imagine answering any one of those questions without Him.

Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” John 6:68


Personality Types

My oldest daughter is currently obsessed with the Myers-Briggs personality test. If you’re not familiar with this test, you can take an online version of the test here. There are four different areas in which you are categorized: Introvert/Extrovert, Intuitive/Sensing, Feeling/Thinking, and Judging/Perceiving, giving a total of 16 possible personality types. Last week my daughter requested that I take the test, and soon all five of us in the family had taken it. Here were our results:

  • Dad – ENTP
  • Mom – ISFJ
  • Laura Anne – INTP
  • Logan – INFP
  • Autumn – ESFJ

There really were no surprises. Laura Anne is most like her father. Autumn is most like me, and Logan is about half and half. I think that Laura Anne likes this test because it somehow quantifies what she often feels – that she and her sister are exact opposites (as are my husband and myself!).

So how does this group of people with such different personalities manage to still be a happy family?

The answer is that what we have in common is far greater than our personality differences.

We have a common love for each other, a common goal of desiring a happy family, and a common focus on walking through this life in a way that pleases the Lord.

We are of one mind.

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”  Philippians 2:1-2

 We build each other up.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Our words should ONLY be used to build each other up.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

We practice kindness and forgiveness.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:32

We are not allowed to say bad things about each other nor intentionally cause strife.

“To malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men”. Titus 3:2

We treat each other the way we desire to be treated.

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31

Now do we practice all these concepts perfectly? Of course not. If you have siblings, children, a spouse, you know that is impossible. There are times I complain outwardly about my husband. There are times when one kid swipes at another in frustration. It’s summer. We’re together a lot, and there will be plenty of times that our personalities clash. However, we don’t let our differences serve as an excuse to ignore the principles that God has given us. He tells us how to treat each other – how He wants us to treat each other. To be pleasing to Him, we can not intentionally ignore what He says.

From personal experience, life is much more peaceful when we apply these principles. In the home, in the church, in life – God’s wisdom always wins.

He created each of us just as He desired us to be. Our differences are not an excuse to not get along. They are not an excuse to tear someone else down with our words. Our differences are necessary to glorify our heavenly Father as one complete body.

INTP? ESFJ? It doesn’t matter. You still have to be nice to your sister.

“But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be?” 1 Corinthians 12:18-19


Not why I gave her the phone

This weekend I rode in the car with my oldest daughter for about twenty minutes in silence. It felt like I was completely alone. That child was glued to her phone the whole time. I could have asked her to put it down, and she would have with no argument. In situations like this I usually do remind her that the person she is with is more important that whatever is on her phone.  However, this time I was curious to see what would happen if I didn’t say anything.

She never even looked up. In my optimism I thought that if we rode and I said nothing, that would give her a chance to talk about anything that might be on her mind. I was looking for conversation – but received silence instead.

The irony, of course, is that I’m the one who gave her the phone. She has the phone to be able to communicate with her parents when we’re not with her. She had it with her that day because we had been running, and she uses an app that helps her log her runs. It comes in handy, but the very thing that I gave her because I love her and want to be able to communicate with her was currently having the opposite result. The two of us riding in silence was not my plan. That is not why I gave her the phone.

So we drove along side by side, with my daughter absorbed in the phone that I gave her, and me just waiting for her to put it down and talk to me.

My own blessings

I thought of my own heavenly Father who has given me so much, and I wonder if He sees me often distracted by His blessings and thinks That’s not why I gave you that. I didn’t give you that so you could ignore Me.

God gives me the choice as to how I use His blessings, just as I did with my daughter. I can use them with God’s purpose in mind, or I can use them for my own enjoyment and ignore the very one who gave them to me.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

If I find that something is keeping me from my relationship with God, I can be sure that either it did not come from God, or that I am not using it the way He intended. God wants us to be near Him, communicating with Him. He wanted that so much that He sent Jesus to die for us – just so we could be near Him.

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  Ephesians 2:13

God has blessed me with so much. It is easy to become so absorbed in enjoying His blessings that I begin to think of them as mine. Those blessings are not mine any more than that phone is my daughter’s. I need to remember the source and the purpose of all that God has given me. God wants us to enjoy His blessings, but He also wants us to remember Him. He wants us to talk to Him. More than that, He wants us to abide in Him.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. John 15:4

We can choose to abide in Jesus. We can choose to use God’s blessings for His purpose instead of letting them distract us from Him.

Putting down the phone

Let’s not ride through life too distracted to see God. He sits there right beside us just waiting for us to remember Him. He sits waiting patiently for us to put down our phones, turn our faces to Him, converse with Him, and abide in His presence. 

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 1 John 2:28