Young People and the Questions They Ask

By J. H. Mauritz

It is very well known that children can be very persistent in asking questions as well as in asking for favours. It is also clear that parents many times cannot provide all the answers necessary to satisfy all (heir requests. Children need to learn that an immediate answer to every question is not always possible just as they must learn that they cannot get everything they want at any time. However, this does not mean that young people should be hesitant voicing their questions. It is a wonderful thing if they feel comfortable bringing their concerns to their parents. Home should be the first place these questions are asked.

However, young people sometimes complain that their parents don’t really pay much attention to their questions. They say, "My parents don’t understand me." Or, "They don’t take me seriously." This is unfortunate if it happens. No one will deny that our youth should ask questions, but may they ask just any question? Is everything to be open to question?

The reaction of parents.

Parents sometimes complain that their children come to them with questions that are critical in nature. Some have said, "It seems as if today everything is being questioned or challenged. Often I don’t know how to give a good, clear answer and I need to say ’ask that in school or ask the minister in catechism class.’" Sometimes, parents are at their wit’s end trying to handle all of the often critical questions that arise. At such times it is possible that some questions are ignored. However when this occurs, young people may get the impression that their parents are not trying to understand them or be helpful. This is unfortunate because often when this happens in families, the young people take their questions elsewhere. And where will they go then?

A listening ear.

Our young people need attention. It is so important that parents take time to talk to them. However, this is not always easy in daily life. Our lives are busy and often stressful so that there is often no time for more than a causal conversation. Young people can soon sense whether or not their parents have a real interest in them and whether there is a listening ear for their cares. Parents who love their children listen to them realizing the value of keeping the lines of communication open. Most of the time we don’t express this with a lot of words, but it should show in the practice of every day life. Then, though we see the faults of our children, we also recognize that they are struggling with much within themselves. Of course they need correction. But along with correction, they need to feel their parents love for them. This love is not blind, it corrects but takes time to listen and, if possible, to give guidance and provide solutions to their struggles.

Your questions.

As a young person with questions, you must ask your- self which concerns should be brought up and how best to present them. Are your concerns really appropriate, or even Biblically permissible? Should you really be able ask just any question? Should you bring questions to your parents when perhaps they are unable or maybe unwilling to listen to them? A sixteen-year-old teenager wrote, "When I, cannot solve my problems after seeking the help of others I know, may I go to a counsellor? Do my parents need to know if I do this? Would I be sinning against the fifth commandment if I did this?"

Different kinds of questions.

Please understand that I may not say that all of your questions are worthy of answers, nor should you direct them to just anyone. There are limits that must not be overstepped. When one examines the different kinds of questions that arise, it becomes obvious that there are some that must be

the questions we wish to ask. There are questions, which are without doubt, sinful. In the Bible we note the sinful question of Satan when he said to Eve, "Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Satan craftily tries with this question to sow doubt in Eve and to tempt her to sin. And he succeeded when Eve listened to his sinful question.

Satan still operates the same way today. He is very clever and knows the kinds of questions which will best serve his purposes in your heart - questions that go against God’s Word such as "Is it really true that God wants us to worship Him by going to church on Sunday?" Maybe there are similar questions in your heart - questions which have the potential to raise doubt in our minds about Biblical guidelines. Such questions should not be asked, and if you have them, you should confess them with guilt unto the Lord.

2. Improper Questions.

We can find several examples in the Bible where the Lord Jesus did not answer certain questions, which were asked of Him, even rebuking the person asking the question. At the wedding in Cana, Mary was rebuked because she came to Jesus with a remark containing an improper question. Mary was too hasty; she needed to be more patient. Another example can be seen in the mother of the two sons of Zebedee in Matt. 10: 21. She asked for a special place for her sons in the kingdom of heaven on the right and left hand of Jesus. The Lord Jesus rebuked her for this question. It would be improper for a friend to question you about signing a note with his father’s name excusing him from school when you know he has no valid reason for skipping classes. Inappropriate questions can arise from many different situations which are always inappropriate to direct to the Lord, our neighbor, or our loved ones.