Join us as we share tips on how to raise motivated learners and equip them with the skills to pursue the path the Lord lays before them.
Remember those days; the ones where your kids asked twenty-million questions about everything around them? They wanted to know what made the sky blue, the birds sing, the flowers grow, and why people got mad. If we’re honest with ourselves, those questions could become tiring after a while. Just how many questions can this little person have? When will the questions stop? Perhaps you’re there now and wondering these things even as you read. Allow me to encourage you with this: If we are doing our jobs right, our children will never stop asking questions and, trust me, that’s a good thing!
One of the swiftest ways we can kill a child’s motivation to learn is by discouraging questions. Being curious and seeking answers is one of the key methods of learning. If we want to raise motivated learners who are prepared for the future, we need to cultivate their curiosity and encourage them to seek the answers.
Lead Them to Ask – I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but our children follow our example. If we want our children to be motivated learners, we need to be motivated learners. Our children should see us question the world around us and find the answers. Don’t be afraid of being curious, asking tough questions, and researching for truths. Your children will see learning never stops and understand knowledge is a lifelong endeavor.
Teach Them to Ask – Most children are instilled with curiosity and the motivation to learn. They want to find answers, but don’t always know the right questions to ask. As parents and educators, part of our job is to help them ask the right questions and show them where to seek the answers. As we teach them to read, we ask them questions about the book; modeling questions they should ask themselves in the future. As we explore nature, we ask questions and share thoughts; modeling questions they might be asking. As our children see us question things around us, making sense of life, they too will learn how to ask questions and seek answers.
Note: Don’t be afraid to re-word questions our children ask, sharing how the question should have been worded. Part of learning is not just in asking the question, but in asking the right ones. In addition, don’t be afraid of not having answers! Our children need to see us model humility, understanding adults don’t have all the answers. However, use this time to lead them to the person (or resource) which does.
Encourage Them to Ask – As our children begin to grow curious, we need to be open to their questions. While exploring and learning, it helps to ask if they have questions, if they understand everything being learned, or if they would like to share their thoughts. As the questions come, we need to be patient, understanding, and open to hear more.
Applaud Them for Asking – One way our children understand their curiosity is not only welcome, but wanted, is to applaud them for their efforts. Thank them for their questions, congratulate them on asking great questions, commend them for asking questions you hadn’t thought of (hey, it happens!), and pat them on back for seeking knowledge. When our children see we reward their efforts, they are more likely to continue and, therefore, become motivated to learn about the world around them.
Let us be clear… being curious and seeking knowledge through questions should not be confused with questioning authority; these are separate issues entirely. Our children are encouraged to continually be seeking knowledge and are free to ask any question which comes to mind. They are not, however, free or encouraged to be rebellious. Our children are allowed to ask why we do something and should expect an honest answer, but, at the end of the day, they are expected to obey authority unless proved to be immoral.
Questions are a good thing, even if they can try our patience at times. By modeling, teaching, encouraging, and applauding curiosity, we are helping our children become life-learners, motivated to pursue whichever path the Lord sets before them. Let the questions commence!
Time to Chime In: Are there questions your children might ask that you are afraid of; which ones and why?
“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
– Proverbs 22:6