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Answering What Matters

We have a very public business and my children interact with a lot of new people they only meet once on a daily basis.  Because they’re children, they are generally brutally honest with what they share with people. This usually doesn’t cause a problem at all because we aren’t trying to hide anything.  The fact that the children are so honest is another sign that we are living authentic lives and Goat Milk Stuff is a reflection of how we live.

Unfortunately, there have been some instances where people ask the children (in my opinion) totally inappropriate questions.  I’ve had to do a lot of role playing with the children on how to recognize these types of questions and then how to appropriately and respectfully respond and answer them.

Here are a few examples of questions the children have told me they’ve been asked:

  • “How much money do you get paid?”
  • “Who did your parents vote for in the election?”
  • “Do your parents physically discipline you?”
  • “Which bedroom in the house is yours?”

Teaching the children to discern which questions are safe to answer and which are not takes quite a bit of time.  Some of the children are more intuitive than others and can discern the motive behind the question easily.  Others are not as intuitive and take even more coaching.

The bedroom question would have been really creepy except for the fact that it was asked by a friendly, elderly woman as they were discussing the views from their windows (her window opened onto her garden).  But I bring it up because it was a good lesson for the children that sometimes even simple, innocent questions are best left unanswered.

The standard answer when the children aren’t sure if it is safe ground is simply to say, “That’s private family business, you can ask my Mom or Dad if you want to know.”  The children don’t have to use that phrase often, but they have it memorized so if they are at all unsure, they can whip it out.

I do want to take a moment to say that because my children interact with the public on a regular basis, there are many safety precautions built into our family business that are designed to protect the children and keep them physically and emotionally safe.

But please be aware that all children should be taught to recognize inappropriate questions, even if you don’t have a family business.  Child predators are everywhere and my understanding is that most abuse occurs not from strangers, but from people that are trusted by the parents. Role playing is a great way to help even young children learn how to answer or avoid questions they shouldn’t be comfortable with.

So while we are very up front with how we live our lives, the children are regularly taught and reminded that simply because we have a public family business does not mean that every question a customer asks needs a response.

The one exception to this is questions about our faith in Jesus.  We willingly answer those questions and are happy to talk about our walks with Lord and what the Bible teaches.

A few months ago, Emery asked to talk with Jim and me one evening.  (I don’t know about you, but whenever we get a request like that, our heart rates speed up. LOL)

In this instance, it was very positive.  Emery told us that he wanted to get baptized.  He’d been reading his Bible and God had convicted him that he needed to publicly stand up for his faith in Jesus by being baptized.

We were beyond pleased to hear his decision and told him that we would help him get baptized wherever, whenever, and in front of whomever he wished.

Yesterday was finally the day.  He invited nearby friends and people who were important to him and he was baptized in our pool by someone who has had a great impact in Emery’s life – a close friend and his cross-country coach – Jon Sweetland.

Emery wanted me to share why he believes what he believes.  So after sitting down with our Bibles last night, here it is!

  1. You can trust the Bible to be the accurate word of God.  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16)
  2. We have all sinned. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
  3. There is a penalty for sin. “For the wages of sin is dealth,” (Romans 6:23)
  4. Jesus is a gift from God. “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
  5. Jesus is the means of eternal salvation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
  6. Jesus is the only way to be saved. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” (John 14:6)
  7. You can’t work your way to heaven. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  8. You can receive salvation through Jesus by confessing you are a sinner in need of a Savior. “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”(Romans 10:9)

Emery told me afterwards that he is really trying to stand up for what he believes in and that he is hoping that being baptized is just the beginning.

Jim and I regularly pray for all of our children that they have the wisdom to share strongly the truths they believe in while having the wisdom to discern what questions are best left unanswered.

What are the questions that are most important to you to answer (or avoid)?