Answering surface level questions without frustration is the key to opening the door to heart level questions and conversations.
We have all been there. The talking in the car never stops. Question after question is thrown at you. What we think is a great answer only leads to another question.
If you are anything like me, your frustration level with the constant barrage of questions tends to escalate quickly. The older my own children get, the more thankful that I have become for those surface level questions.
I believe with all my heart that answering surface level questions without frustration is the key to opening the door to heart level questions and conversations.
As parents, we must be willing to engage in all of our kids conversations so that we can have those strategic and intentional conversations when the time presents itself. That door to heart level questions and conversations can be slammed shut if our children sense frustration from us when answering the everyday questions of life.
We can ask all the right questions but will not get answers if we have created a frustration barrier in our everyday conversations with our kids. If our kids learn early that we are open to any and every discussion, they will be much more open to sharing their struggles, fears, and mistakes with us. Strategic parenting involves learning to master the art of the intentional conversation. We cannot do that if we are unable or unwilling to talk through everyday life with our kids.
So what does that look like? Here are some practical tips:
1Put your phone away! What impression does it make on our children if we pick them up and we are on the phone? That will slam the conversation door real quick.
2Ask them questions in a way that does not elicit a one word answer. How as your day will always get “good” or “fine”. Asking what was the best or worst part of your day will prompt more discussion. This takes work, practice, and a willingness to listen.
3Continue to teach a gospel centered response to life every opportunity you get. A key part in discipling your children is teaching them how to apply biblical truth to everyday life. That is done in the context of conversations. Pray that God will prompt you to seize those opportunities with your kids.
4Model great conversation with your spouse. Remember that you are raising future husbands and fathers. If we don’t model that for them, they will assume the normal for married couples is to not talk and share much. Make sure that you are intentional and engaged in conversations in front of your children. Trust me, they will see it.
My hope and prayer is that we will be thankful for all the questions and the opportunities they provide for strategic and intentional conversations.