How to deal with your child’s curiosity about knowing the existence of a God

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Nathaniel and his mom waved at the image of a crucified Jesus inside the Basilica del Santo Nino Church in Cebu City, Philippines.

Young children are naturally curious. They want to know about just everything and that’s fine. But what if your child asks you something you don’t quite expect a young mind would come up with? Like, for example, your child is asking you on whether God exists or not.

How are you going to explain it to your child? Of course, you would be saying “yes, God exists.” But what if your child is not totally convince yet and, instead, wants you to explain further by asking: “If God exists, why does he allow suffering?”

I think it’s best to tell your child what you know about it, to the best of your ability, even if he or she may never come to understand it yet. But what if there’s no God? Would this affect the kind of parenting you’re now introducing to your child?

And if somebody’s going to ask you the same question, what should your answer be? If God exists, why does he allow suffering? You may try to reflect at my answer to such a question below, thus enjoy reading:

I have long ago dismissed the argument about whether God existed or not. I have read lots of atheistic writings from vocal and famous atheists and existentialists and the more that I read and internalized their works, the more I was plunged into the light of truth which further cemented my belief in a deity.

Back in college, a colleague of mine was trying to convince me, even to the point of lecturing me, about his newfound philosophy based upon the books he read. He quoted something from German philosopher Nietzsche’s existentialist book titled Thus Spoke Zarathustra, saying: “God is dead.” Having read about Marx’s stand on atheism, I simply told him that his claim was weak because to say that “God is dead” meaning to say he came to exist, although he’s dead.

I even instructed my colleague by saying: “This is how you should say it: ‘God did not exist.'” Of course, I lied to him, because deep in my heart I know there is God.

But, if God exists, why does he allow suffering? Is it wrong to ask why God allows all the troubles and sufferings in the world? The prophet Habakkuk had one time asked God: “Why do you make me witness wrongdoing? And why do you tolerate oppression? Why are destruction and violence before me? And why do quarreling and conflict abound?” (Habakkuk 1:3.)

But do we really have to blame God for all the suffering in the world? The Bible has the answer as it clearly states in 1st John chapter five, verse nineteen: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.”

This world was dominated and reflects the personality of the invisible spirit creature who is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation chapter twelve, verse nine.) Satan is hateful, deceptive, and cruel. So the world, under his influence, is full of hatred, deceit, and cruelty. That is one reason why there is so much suffering.

It was very interesting how God handled rebellion in heaven long time ago. When Lucifer rebelled against God, and wanted to be like God, he allowed him to become how it would be like.

And when Satan, the Great Evil Beast, together with his minions, was cast down to the earth, and with the Fall of Man in Eden, God has allowed him to show how he would rule mankind. God has also allowed humans to govern themselves under Satan’s guidance.

But why has the Almighty Father allowed suffering to continue for so long and why has He not prevented such things as horrible crimes?

God has not helped Satan to rule this world. If God were to prevent horrible crimes, for instance, would he not, in effect, be supporting the case of the rebels? Would God not be making people think that perhaps humans can govern themselves without disastrous results? If God were to act in that way, he would become party to a lie. However, “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18.)

So what would God do about all the harm that has resulted from the rule of humans and the influence of Satan?

The effects of sin would be removed through faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, and the effects of death would be reversed by means of the resurrection. God would so use Jesus, as what the Bible has told in 1st John chapter three, verse eight: “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

God would bring all of this about at just the right time. We can be glad that he has not acted sooner, for his patience, as could be read in 2nd Peter chapter three, verses nine to ten, has given us the opportunity to learn the truth and to serve him.

For the time being, to quote from the book of John chapter four, verse twenty-three, God has been actively seeking sincere worshipers and helping them to endure any suffering that may come upon them in this troubled world.

How to encourage the young kids to be curious right in our own backyard

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Nathaniel is seen brushing his slippers in this picture.

Every parent should know that their young kids need places and time to explore for the reason that they’re learning best through direct, first hand experiences with the people and objects in the world around them. However, we must as well be careful to ensure that their safety is not sacrificed. Parents need to be supervising for the safety limits of their kids because their curiosity could also lead them into danger.

Young children are so curious in such a way that they would use all of their senses in developing security and confidence as they wonder, explore, discover, and gain knowledge for themselves right in their own backyard or nearby park. Such a concrete learning is a vital foundation for future abstract, symbolic (pencil and paper) learning in books and school.

A child’s curiosity could be spurred or triggered through a variety of experiences indoors and out, whether at home, in the community, or anywhere else. We could take our kids to the nearest zoo, children’s museum, children’s park, or even on a hike at a local forest park. Children may also find the following places to be fun and interesting: TV station, lumberyard, bakery, construction site, airport, factory, and so on.

Introduce the child to the proper use of a magnifying glass as this would help him or her in observing objects in more detail. When we take our child to a garden of flowers, right in our own backyard, and to ask him or her if he or she ever really looked inside a flower is to give him or her such a chance of looking and seeing what’s inside the bud. And it’s all because of your interest.

There are lots of ways in which we could encourage curiosity in our children wherever they are and may be, beginning from such a simple observation and explanation of ordinary things to the more complex ones. Our children would learn a lot from us as much as we would from them. But, as parents, we should learn to take initiatives. We should be making the first move on what could be good for our children.

How to genuinely help motivate our kids

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To motivate our kids, we need to look at all the ways we could kindle, not dampen, the fires of motivation within them.

We parents have high hopes for our kids. We would do everything to keep them inspired for learning, for achievement, and for success in life. We want them to grow up equipped with everything they need to have for a better life.

But, then, despite our best intentions, we would still find many of them to be less motivated. It has become one of our biggest concerns as parents. But how do we, in fact, motivate our children?

How are we going to solve such a dilemma?

Try interacting with some of these kids and you would be struck by their great expectations for the future. Kids are, naturally, day-dreamers and they come to believe what they are capable of imagining.

Some kids would find it most interesting to gain fame and fortune as movie stars. Some would try to make a name for themselves like a career in sports, wanting to be great boxers like Manny Pacquiao or to represent their country in the Olympics.

Others would love to seek adventure and travel, in a hope to go around the world and learn other cultures and languages. You’d find some of their dreams to be fanciful, like wanting to climb Mount Everest, or to jump off a plane at an altitude of ten thousand feet.

And, yet, you’d find out more of these children’s hopes are serious. One would be staring at you straight in the eye to declare: “I would stop all drugs!” Another one would say: “I would make lots of money so that when I became rich I would help the poor and the homeless.”

To motivate our kids, we need to be looking at all the ways we could kindle, instead of dampening, the fires of motivation within them. We could nurture such a precious spark within each child starting right from our home. Then we could try spreading it outside our home, into such areas as schooling, life, chores, and responsibilities.

We should be making sure that communication lines between us and our kids are open, because it is one way to boost learning and motivation. When parents and children are warmly interested in each other and their activities, to quote from author Dorothy Corkille Briggs, when children feel safe to share ideas and feelings, intellectual growth is stimulated.

The importance of helping the child to learn who his or her parents are while the child is learning who he or she is

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Every time you interact with your child is an opportunity for you to learn who you are, who your child is, and how you could best meet his or her needs.

Whether you like it or not, as your child grows up, he or she is more than capable of engaging in the process of becoming his or her own person because of a remarkable built-in potential he or she has had since birth. His experience would enable him or her to develop the ability to store the image of his or her parents in his or her mind. He or she would continue to explore the world with a new purpose.

It is important for you to know that in his or her pursuit of something new he or she doesn’t leave the past behind. The experiences he’s or she’s had in previous stages are part of him or her forever.

You should be there to provide structure by allowing your child to express all of himself or herself and by way of teaching appropriate form of self-expression.

With the birth of your baby, it changes your life forever. You would no longer be looking after your own personal interests, but in the interest of giving your child the best foundation possible. You would be changing what needs to, like your sleeping and eating schedules as well as your other usual habits like watching television et cetera.

There are times when you try to resist these changes, but, then, as you tried to ponder on the fact about considering the degree of influence you have over your baby’s growing brain, and the short interval of the first two or three years it takes to form that brain, you made up your mind by realizing what a privilege it was to be such a positive force in your child’s life.

Upon seeing the incremental growth in your infant, each passing day, you would know that all your efforts were worth any temporary loss of sleep or other changes in your life. You would learn, eventually, that what helps shape the neurological connections of infants who are later seen as smart, capable, and competent, are the environmental engineering as well as the direct input from the parents.

The choices of routines you’re going to establish with your baby from day one, and the effect of these routines on your baby’s future is of the utmost importance. You could give your child as much a variety of stimulating experiences as you want.

Unlike most teachers who learn their craft through training and experience, a new parent with a firstborn child has the benefit of neither. You would need no training manual. But you must learn what you could from the experience itself.

Every time you interact with your child is an opportunity for you to learn who you are, who your child is, and how you could best meet his or her needs. And as your child gets older, you would learn through trial and error when to press a point, when to express a personal opinion, and when to let your child come to his or her  own conclusions and learn from his or her own mistakes.

The importance of diversity in education for our kids

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Nathaniel colors a flower illustration in the book.

Since each child has different level of needs, interests, and ways of learning, there must be a school that offers a variety of educational approaches. It is about creating a system that, instead of trying to fit young children into some standardized school, has a school to fit every child in the community where they belong. The same thing should best apply to teachers as well as, actually and in fact, there’s no single best school for every teacher.

The fact that human beings are so extraordinarily diverse, it has become increasingly important for every community to develop such a differing program which, in turn, frees up teachers to facilitate this process as well. Teachers are empowered when they’re allowed to try new things, meet new needs, and so on and so forth. In the case with young children with divergent learning styles or special needs, such an approach would be the key in building diversity into the system, allowing a school system to be responsive to different needs, on the part of both teachers and kids.

But what if such a method is not yet available in the community where these children live? If that’s the case, then it’s the parents’ initiative to fill in the void for that matter. It is important for parents to know of the fact that getting an education is not limited to what was being taught in schools alone, but what one would be learning outside of it as well. Each child must be taught in a case to case basis, being that parents are the ones who know very well the every little facet of their kids’ personality.

In fact, the notion that the school could be hermitically sealed and could do it without the parents is an illusion. Education should be a system that empowers individuals, where there are no unworthy seekers of knowledge, and that parents play a significant role in which they could forge ties in their children’s schools.

Finding authentic love and communion through fatherhood

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Nathaniel was only six months old when this picture was taken.

It must be learned from the Heavenly Father. God is the Father who takes care of His children. He watches over and guards all of His creation. God has mastered the art of parenting.

He is the Father of the fatherless, to quote from the Book of Psalm chapter sixty-eight, verse five, and defender of widows. God cares so much for His children, so that when everything seemed to go wrong for the human race because of sin, He sent His only begotten Son to save them (John chapter three, verse, sixteen). God so much loved the blemished human beings that He wanted them cleansed through the blood of His Son, Jesus.

God created man in His own image and likeness. Man was called into existence through love and for love. It’s a vocation, a calling inscribed in the humanity of man and wife by God, and so the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion. To love, therefore, is to exercise or express such a fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.

Man couldn’t live without love as each person is called to make such a fundamental commitment—to love. The husband’s love to his wife should be without measure, except that it is truly just a gift of self; just the full, free gift of one’s being. This love that the Almighty Father and the Son give and receive is the Holy Spirit, who could be called their gift, their bond, even their communion.

The Holy Spirit, though, is not being exchanged between the Father and the Son. It’s not that the Holy Spirit has become something that’s traded, calculated, or measured—it’s not something like that. But like the Father and the Son, he, too, is holy, infinite, immense, and eternal.

Man and wife, called to live in a communion of love, were created by God to unite them as one in their common humanity. Their union in love should mirror in the world the communion of love that is in God.

A connection between human experience and the design of the Creator for human action must be fully established. To understand love is to understand the Creator’s design for his created order through an experience that everyone shares. To experience love is to experience fully the laws of nature.

All created things are connected. In the case with humans, the circumstances of their birth reflect that of the mechanics of the universe. And there’s such a great yearning for every human being for connection. A man, therefore, would find his understanding deepened when he is drawn, by imagination and observation, to patterns of interaction and connection.

He (a man) must become sensitive to the energy flow between different forms of life—the interactive energy between different things that helps define and shape each element—and the interaction that includes them both in the experience of dynamic connectedness and unity of all things.

This relational perspective should help shape man’s personal view of parenting as a dynamic relationship of a father and son’s love for one another, the husband and wife’s love for one another, the Church and Christ’s love for one another, and for everyone’s love for one another, where there’s perfect unity in difference, and one which is infinitely fruitful.

Fatherhood is such that makes every man become a living witness to the Creator’s design for marriage and family—in what was a union in love and mutual self-donation in welcoming new life as a fruit and sign of love for one another—every single day of his life. He must encounter love, experience and make it his own, and to participate intimately in it.

The importance of introducing spiritual training in the home

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My four-year-old son, Nathaniel, in one of his somber-looking poses before the camera.

According to child experts, the first five to seven years of a child’s life is crucial to the attitudes he or she may develop, which could become almost permanent. Parents should need to be aware of the fact that when the opportunities of these early years are missed, they’re gone forever. Hence, if you want your son or daughter to possess all the qualities of a good, well-mannered child, you should be making these (good) characteristics the conscious objectives of your early teaching.

Contrary to other people’s belief, heredity does not equip a child with character and that the parents couldn’t be expecting character to appear magically unless they have done their homework early.

START BY MAKING AN EARLY BEGINNING

Don’t you know about how a duck came to be? After a young duckling hatches from its shell, the duckling instinctively would be attaching itself to its mom, but if the mom is removed, it would settle for any moving object. A group of researchers revealed that, in fact, the duckling would most easily bond itself to a blue football bladder that’s being dragged in front of it on a string.

A week after this process started, it would fall behind the blue bladder whenever it scoots by. To whatever extent or degree, time is the crucial factor. It must be noted that the duckling is susceptible to bonding for only a few seconds after it was hatched from its shell. Therefore, if such a precious opportunity for imprinting is lost, it couldn’t be taken back later.

In the same way that a youngster between one and seven years of age is most susceptible to religious training, so that his or her of right and wrong is formed during this time as well as his or her ideas of God take shape. And just like the duckling, the opportunity of such a time period must be seized when the child is ready, not when the parents are ready.

But yet, unfortunately, the opposite is also true. When you’re depriving a child of spiritual training, or subjecting him or her to the misapplication of it, you’re severely limiting his or her capacity in reaching spiritual maturity. Don’t wait until your child is old enough to decide for himself if he or she wants religion, you had almost guaranteed that he or she would be deciding against it.

TEACH, BUT NOT IN THE WAY WHICH MAKES IT SOUND LIKE YOU’RE PREACHING

It is but normal for every child to ask questions, lots of questions, from his or her earliest years. Consider such times as an opportunity for you teach, to instruct, and to fill your child’s young mind with the very best character-building material available.

You could do it by reading stories, most particularly love stories. There are two advantages when you read character-building stories to your child. When you answer your child’s questions from good books, you’re teaching without preaching. That’s one thing. Now, here’s the other one: by doing so, you have given your child time and companionship. Remember, nothing spells love more than your personal in his thoughts and questions.

A many religious teachings may hold little meaning for a child during his or her early childhood and primary school years, that’s why it is of the utmost importance for parents to learn to translate these religious concepts into terms that their kids could understand.

WORSHIP TOGETHER AS A FAMILY

Try setting up a regular time for family devotions and make no exceptions unless absolutely necessary. You should be deciding upon a time, either morning or evening or both, and create the habit regardless of who is in your home. Study the Bible and read through its pages. Make the Bible interesting to your child. Go to church and worship together as a family.

Character is an engraving, as what the ancient Greeks come to define it. The kind of permanent inscription you would like to be deeply etched into the very heart and soul of your child is all up to you.

Helping the younger generations through the formative years of life

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Nathaniel and his friends sang the Philippine National Anthem in this picture. 

Whether you like it or not, society plays a significant role in creating a system that could either effectively destroy or promote human worth. While there are lots of good things a society could do that people could positively mirror from, the need to understand the destructive forces it may create should as well be given attention if you wish to help the younger generations through the formative years of their lives. Consider the following factors a society is capable of creating such a false value system that could effectively destroy human worth in general:

INTELLIGENCE

One critical factor by which people tend to measure the worth of an individual is through his or her innate intelligence. There are parents who are highly sensitive and vulnerable whenever somebody’s implying that their child is being incapable mentally.

It must be dealt with considerably, though, the fact that most parents become interesting creatures after the birth of their baby. It would appear as if they’re in competition against all other parents. All they want is for their child to excel in everything. Bragging is the name of the game, as if it could give the child more worth.

Often, parents are going to evaluate the worth of their child through his or her ability to make them look good. But what happens if the child couldn’t measure up to his or her parents’ expectations? Instead of pressuring or losing interest on the child, the best thing parents could do is to focus on their child’s strengths and good qualities.

There are more important things in life than impressive grades in school reports (not that it is not important to be good at what you’re doing or aspiring to excel at something, though.) But the point is it would especially help the child if the parents are finding ways to develop such a special talent within a child that would compensate for his or her weaknesses. Parents are helping their slow-learner child better if they could find a skill out of their child that he or she enjoys and in providing the opportunity for him or her to master it.

Remember that the worth of an individual should not be measured by his or her IQ. A slow-learner child especially if you’re making comparison of him or her to that of a bright one of his or her age may find himself or herself caught in a whirlpool of depression.  He or she becomes the wasted victim of a false value that a society creates.

THE LOOKS

Anyone who’s born beautiful is having such a distinct advantage over others. It’s a fact that human society so highly prized beauty. Even a toddler would be learning what good looks could do for him or her. The good looking child would know by experience that the adults of his or her life are going to respond favorably to him or her.

They would be smiling at him or her, telling him or her how cute he or she is, and even make a fuss over him or her. On the other hand, the unattractive child is overlooked and deprived of what his or her better-looking siblings are getting—attention, praises, flatteries, and admirations. Although it’s an accepted human nature, judging a person’s worth on the basis of physical attractiveness is a false value.

OTHER FACTORS

There are circumstances beyond a person’s control that predisposes him or her to have emotional problems. Factors such as physical deformity or oddity could almost ruin a child’s life. Financial deprivation could also seriously handicap a young child’s peer acceptance, most particularly if his or her clothing does fall within acceptable norms.

Some of these social blunders or mistakes during the early years could sometimes haunt a person for as long as he or she lives. Other factors affecting self-growth are, for example, when you’re brought up in a single parent home, having an alcoholic parent, having a mentally or physically disabled sibling, belonging to a cultural minority, or being part of a different race or religion. Unloving relationships also cripple other children.

While people may often naively assert that all a child should need is love and he or she would develop satisfactorily, won’t be enough. Parents may be able to control factors inside the home, but they couldn’t totally control the world outside their home. In spite of all of these problems life’s throwing at a child, he or she must still be able to function adequately.

Children must be taught how to cope with the false values that stem from society. They must be taught how to grow emotionally through problems. They must be taught to accept the inevitable hurts and to nobly rise above them.

Seeing the difference and loving it

SEEING THE DIFFERENCE AND LOVING IT
Connectivity is the fundamental principle of the universe.

Parenting is viewed as something, at least by most people including myself, originating from such a belief that the universe is a creation of God. A conscious parent, therefore, or to become one, is the one who engaged in such a connectional process as being the expression of the laws of the universe. So that when we, parents, parent our child consciously, we’re participating in the cosmic order as well as that of contributing to what it is trying to do.

Hence, parenting or child rearing should be such that is more than just caring for a child as a biological life-form. It is, as what should ideally be, to participate in the creation of God and the laws of the universe. It is not only to promote and do what is a moral act, but because it is such a moral imperative to do so.

The universe that we live in is a Conscious Universe. Its very stuff is Consciousness in the same way that we could become self-aware as we have the capacity of self-awareness we inherited from the universe that is becoming conscious of itself through us.

We should become more aware of the universe and the intimacy of our connection to all things because of this. We should become more aware of how the Almighty Creator is working through us to achieve its purpose. When our very essence as parents is consciousness, we do not only make conscious parenting possible but, most importantly, we as well participate in the divine plan.

Our universe, as what the general view in Physics trying to explain it, exploded into being (an estimated ten to fourteen billion years ago), which gave birth to all things: the stars, the galaxies, and eventually all life-forms, including us. It could lead us to the conclusion that, from the very start, we’re all made of the same stuff.

But while scientists are trying to figure out what should be the answer to such a question on how consciousness could arise out of inanimate material, it is good for us to believe, along with some physicists, that the stardust of which we are made is animated, and in essence, is Consciousness.

Our consciousness came into being, from our unique perspective, not as a quality of our physical reality that arose at some point in our evolution, but as the essence of our physical being.

Believing that such a Consciousness, from the very beginning, mutated into energy and matter, giving birth to all things, both animate and inanimate, is the best way possible to understand why “connectivity” should be, considering that all things are made from the same material, the fundamental principle of the universe.

We must also be aware of the fact that Consciousness, which in essence is non-material, is yearning to express itself in a multiplicity of forms. The form Consciousness has taken in us is to become human. But it has also fulfilled its drive to take form in millions of other ways.

Looking at nature, we couldn’t help but see how much life loves diversity. Each one of us is different from all the others, but remains a human being nonetheless. Not even identical twins are totally the same in every way, because their unique experiences are going to shape them in unique ways.

In the same manner that we and our children are far from identical, we could, at least, through them see the world differently. Through them, we’re given the chance to notice things that would have been invisible to us and to know things we haven’t learned ourselves. It is our job as parents to see such a difference and loving it.

Evaluate your children through this test

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Help your child in overcoming his or her negative feelings; capitalize on developing healthier feelings.

This questionnaire is not a psychological test just so you could determine whether your child is normal or not. But this was just intended to give you a better idea of how your child feels about himself or herself. Parents should be studying the responses carefully for any negative feelings that may be showing up in their children’s answers.

You have to figure out what are these things that your child disliked about himself or herself. The challenge is for you to do something in helping your child overcome these negative feelings and develop healthier feelings.

  1. What three things do you like best about yourself?
  2. I feel bad when___________…
  3. I feel awful when__________…
  4. The thing I do worst is__________…
  5. It really worries me when_________…
  6. If you could make just one wish and it could come true, what would that be?
  7. I am most proud of my ability to_________… Why?
  8. One thing my friends disliked about me is________…
  9. I feel important when________…
  10. I feel comfortable when________…
  11. The people I dislike most_________…Why?
  12. The people I like most_________…Why?
  13. The thing I dislike most about my looks is________…
  14. Five words that best describe me are__________…
  15. What four things do you like about yourself?
  16. One word to describe your dad.
  17. One word to describe your mom.
  18. When it comes to sports, I________…
  19. Three things you don’t like about yourself.
  20. If I could change one thing about myself and make myself different from how I am now, it would be_________…
  21. If you’re a flower, what flower would you be and why?
  22. I would have more friends if_______…
  23. In order to be more popular with other children_______…
  24. Things I wish I didn’t do________…
  25. The best thing about being me is________…
  26. If you could change one on yourself, what should it be? Why?
  27. God is_______…
  28. Three things that make you happy.
  29. What do you like most about your sister?
  30. What do you like most about your brother?