Raising Royalty: Training Good Question-Askers

If you are a parent, you know that children ask bazillions of questions a day. As parents, we can grow weary of the endless asking, requesting, and, at times, nagging. As a homeschooling mom, I hit my limit of questions at about 6:00 pm each day. It never fails that by dinner time, if someone asks me one more stupid question, I will lose my mind.

I love to say YES, but when they’ve asked me a hundred ridiculous questions that I have to say no to, there is a definite problem.

I grew up in a home where my parents had taught us to be good question-askers with one simple phrase: 

“If you KNOW I’m going to say NO, then don’t ask.” 

I actually have to put forth effort to make a decision, each time they ask a question, to decide whether I want to say yes or no. The least they could do is put a little brain-power into the questions they ask. So I’ve implemented this idea with my own children.

This idea had set a precedent in my childhood-home to use our heads:
  • To think outside of our own selfish desires and consider what the opinions of others might be. Will dad and mom say no?
  • To think about whether what you want is it a good idea. Is the request worth asking for?
  • If it is, do I want it bad enough to bother asking for it? (I know I’ve asked for things that I didn’t really want, need or even care about. My kids have done it too.)
Being a good question-asker is an acquired skill. If my children know my rules, standards and opinions on certain things, that is enough to give them parameters to work around. Couple that with the ability to think before they ask, works wonders.

Can I have a million dollars? Obviously no, I don’t even have a million dollars to give.
Can I have ten dollars? No, I don’t even have ten dollars to give. And in our house, we are teaching them to earn money.
Can we get a dog? In our house, this is a NO because we have a small house (and mom doesn’t believe in indoor animals.)
Can I attend and girl/boy sleepover? If one of my daughters ever asks me this, I will wonder if the had their brains sucked out, because they aren’t even allowed to sleepover at friends houses who have older brothers.

All of these are bigger questions, but this concept can bleed into the small questions too. 

Can I have five cookies? No. The limit in our house is three.
Can I play on the computer? No. you’ve already played your allotted amount of time today. (This should be a no brainer to them and shouldn’t waste my time by asking me.)
Can I have cake for breakfast?  Seriously, someone has asked me that!

The reason children ask questions is so they can get a YES. If they learn how to discern the good questions from the bad ones, the amount of YES answers will significantly go up. I love saying yes and seeing their pleasure when they get what they want.

I think God might feel the same way. I’m sure He is tickled-pink when we ask Him really good questions that He can say YES to, as any parent would. So how do we know what God would say yes or no to?  Just like our kids know our house rules, standards and opinions, if we know God or read his Word at all, we should have an understanding of the kids of questions to ask Him.

Can You help me with patience today?
Can You show me when I’m being easily angered?