‘Honest Conversation’ with Your Children

This essay by Andrea Schwartz would have been just as applicable in 2005 B.C. as it was in 2005, when Chalcedon published it.


How do we answer children’s questions, which can sometimes lead us well out of our comfort zones? Andrea’s advice is to “tell them things as they really are, rather than sugarcoat or mislead them.” Sometimes you have to tell the child about wrong or foolish things you did when you were his or her age. That’s not easy, but it is important.

My Aunt Florence almost drowned when she was a little girl because my mother, who was supposed to be watching over her little sister, got sidetracked playing with her friend and never saw Florence toddle into a nearby pond that the older kids used as a swimming hole. Good thing someone else saw it! It was a revelation to me, as a little boy, to learn that my mother once fell down on the job every bit as badly as I did… when I was supposed to be watching out for Alice but got distracted making mud pies with my cousin Jeffrey and never noticed her toddle out of sight–all the way out to Main Street!

And yes, I got what my mother got for not watching out for her sister.

I honor her today for her honesty.

7 comments on “‘Honest Conversation’ with Your Children

  1. Train your children in the way of the Lord and when they are older they will not depart from the faith. This admonition is on the parents. I know I was not as attentive to this as I should have been with my daughter, but so thankful she serves the Lord today and is a blessing to all that she meets.

  2. One of the most difficult things, at least in my experience, is to realize that our parents are fallible. There was something my mother told me when I was young which was well-intended, but factually incorrect. I was in my 30s when I discovered that she was wrong about that and it shook my entire worldview to its very foundations.

    In this case, the lesson to be learned was simple, make certain that you have your facts straight before making a bold statement to your children. I had made major life choices based upon something that was incorrect; an opinion presented as fact.

    The gravity of learning our parent’s fallibility later, rather than sooner, is severe. I know that in my case, I had to reevaluate many aspects of my worldview because I realized that much of it was not reliably based. I no longer trusted many things that had been inculcated in me and ultimately became a different person; sadder, but wiser.

    And now for this morning’s Crespucluarism: he was sadder but wiser, as he nursed a Budweiser. 🙂

    1. It had to do with appropriate career choices for Christians. My mother shot down my aspirations from an early age, believing that Christians should not pursue much of anything above the most basic employment.

      As I got older and met persons who had become doctors, etc. while remaining true to their faith, the scales fell from my eyes and I realized that much of my worldview had been based upon inaccurate information. That was more than half a lifetime ago, but the aftershocks of that seismic event still can be felt. I pursued a technical education shortly thereafter and have worked in various technical fields since that time. It’s just unfortunate that I didn’t learn sooner.

    2. Sometimes God holds us back for reasons we don’t understand. He made me wait several decades to become a writer, even though that was what I wanted since I was 9 or 10 years old. Trusting Him is hard.

    3. I have to say that I’ve come out ok, with a great job now, in networks and communication systems. I certainly feel that God has opened doors for me along the way and I have been blessed.

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