At one point in our lives, we were really good at it. In fact, we were so good at it that it probably drove our parents absolutely crazy! We used to be so good at asking why… because we were trying to understand the world around us… but somewhere between ages 3 and adulthood, we’ve lost the art of asking why. Perhaps it’s because we lacked people who encouraged curiosity and why questions in our lives.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I get quite few emails and inquiries regarding children’s ministry from my peers… They often want to know what curriculum to use, what events to have, how to have a stellar children’s ministry, if I would come speak at their VBS, or to consult for them. These are all great questions… however, when I ask them why they do what they do or why they want to change things up, I get two very common answers: because that’s what we’ve always done or because we’re bored with what we’re doing. Often times, I take a step back and ask “why do you do children’s ministry?” And more often than not, I get a blank stare before they formulate some answer about wanting the kids to know and love God. Once I probe further and ask “why do YOU do children’s ministry”, I often get “because the church asked me to” or “because I like kids.” I’m not saying that these are all wrong answers… but I just wish people asked “WHY” more often… Why do we do VBS? Why do we have Fall Festival? Why do we have Christmas plays? Why do we have camps? If the answer is “because we’ve always done it” or “because they asked me to,” then we really need to go back and have a clear objective about why we do what we do!
Another reason why I’ve been thinking about “WHY” is… I’m often approached by parents and kidmin leaders about the need to change behaviors in kids. I understand that misbehavior can be frustrating and even maddening. I usually come back to the “why” of their behavior… because I’m more concerned with the heart and lasting impact. Kids are smart… they often can figure out how to behave so they don’t get in trouble… but that doesn’t indicate that their hearts have changed at all. I will be honest–this is NOT an easy process most of the times… Journeying through the “why’s” are often followed by more frustrations and probably more questions than answers in the beginning… but once again, I do wish more people were concerned with the “why’s” of why kids behave the way they do…
So… all this is to say… let’s not quench the curiosity in kids when they’re little… I think “why” is such an important question in life… and at every age and stage in life, we need to be asking more “why” questions!