James Sire, author of The Universe Next Door, tells a story that influenced the way I looked at the world. The story goes something like this:
A boy came home one day and asked his father, "What holds up the world, Dad?"
The father answered with a storybook reply, "A camel holds up the world, son."
But the next day the boy was back. "Dad, if a camel holds up the world, what holds up the camel?" The father answered quickly, "A kangaroo."
Soon, the son returned. "Dad, what holds up the kangaroo?" Knowing he was now in trouble, the father said emphatically, "An elephant!"
"Come on, Dad, what holds up the elephant?"
Exasperated, the father blurted, "It's . . . it's elephant — all the way down!"
Besides illustrating that kids ask the toughest questions, the story shows that when a parent doesn't answer thoughtfully or replies flippantly, it doesn't eliminate a child's curiosity. Tough questions shouldn't be avoided. In fact, they offer some of the best opportunities to teach a Christian worldview.
Del Tackett, former president of the Focus Leadership Institute, describes a worldview as "the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world." The best tool we can give our children is to teach them how to accurately make sense of life.
Questions about life lead to teachable moments. Here are three ways you can teach your kids a Christian worldview so they interpret life by what is true — not what is trendy, easy or false.
1. What is really real?
When philosophies of the world compete with biblical truth, ask: "Is that really real?" When we are watching TV as a family and something comes on the screen that contradicts our Christian worldview, I might ask, "What are they really selling you?" The answer is often something like, "They want me to think that new car will make me cool." Bull's-eye! From here, we can talk about whether a car makes someone cool or if coolness is even important to God.
Our kids want — and need — to know what's really real. As Christians, we know that God's Word is what defines truth, not personal experience.
The truth? God is the ultimate reality, and the way we learn about that reality is from His Word — not our feelings, popular culture or peers.
2. What's the point of trials and difficulties?
Your child's worst days can be the best times to teach a Christian worldview. When my 14-year-old didn't make the basketball team, he struggled with disappointment, so we talked about whether God knew what was going to happen. My son was surprised when he realized God knew but allowed the circumstances anyway.
The even harder question was raised about our friend's son who died of cancer. This tragedy led to discussions about the reality that, without God, man doesn't have the resources needed to get through the difficult events in life.
The truth? Man, who is fallen, needs God.
3. What's the challenge for both parent and child?
A Christian worldview is about thinking rightly so we can have a strong relationship with God. In this way, loving God means thinking as a Christian and embracing the Bible's teachings. When my kids see that thinking about Truth is the first step in the process of living the Truth, they look differently at God’s Word.
The truth? The evidence of a Christian worldview is the life of a person who has a close relationship with Jesus Christ.
So, don't dodge your kids' hard questions. We need to build our lives on what can’t be shaken: God's Truth — all the way down.
On average, more than 50 children make a decision for Christ every day as a result of the ministry we do at Focus on the Family. We hope you'll consider seeking God's guidance about this important work and making an investment in saving hearts. Donate today.