When the Kids Know More Than We Do

when_the_kids_know_more_than_we_doIt’s happened. I knew such a time would come a time in my children’s learning adventure. I just didn’t plan for it to happen quite this soon. We have finally reached that point in life when areas of my children’s knowledge have surpassed my own.

If I’ve done things well I will begin to work myself ‘out of a job’. As a parent, especially a homeschooling parent, my goal is to raise a fully functioning adult; four of them, in fact. In raising independent learners, it was inevitable that at some point they might discover things I have yet to explore. What are parents to do when their children start to exceed their knowledge? How do we continue teaching them when they absorb facts faster than a sponge absorbs liquid?

Practice Humility

Pride is hard to overcome. We’ve spent years educating our children and they have the nerve to start telling us we’re wrong? They want to explain how things are done, when events happened, and impart newfound knowledge to us parents.

Sure, we could get upset with them for correcting our poor grammar and interrupting our lessons with more detail than we prepared. Or, we could make this a teachable moment. We need to be able to swallow our pride, accept that our children are eager to learn, and continue to teach.

Teach Humility

It’s wonderful to learn new things and impart that knowledge to others who might be interested. However, we also need to learn the right time and place to share. We need to learn how to share. While our children might have learned facts we haven’t, they still need to learn how to share with kindness, grace, gentleness, and humility.

Learning new things should not fill us with self-righteous pride and arrogance. If that is the case, you have increased your knowledge base, certainly, but have yet to increase in wisdom. Wisdom is by far the more important of the two.

Be Patient

When our children wish to share all the exciting new things they are learning, expressing their interest in the topic, they can often times exhaust our patience. We need to remember that our children are learning and loving the adventure. The surest way to kill their enthusiasm is to become frustrated with them, belittle them, or refuse to hear their thoughts. Be open to hearing them and listen with attention to what they are trying to say. You never know, you might enjoy the lesson!

Show Some Respect

There is a fine line between sharing newfound information and disrespectfully tossing around facts to belittle parents or others in authority positions. Again, the purpose of increasing in knowledge is not to lord it over another and make them feel small.

When our children share with us, and others, they need to be mindful that respect remains intact. They should respect the life experience the adult has, respect the feelings of the adult being spoken to, and respect the role the Lord has given that person in their life. Yes; they might have knowledge to share, but that doesn’t give them an excuse to be rude to those around them.

Encourage Growth

It can be uncomfortable to admit our children know more about a certain topic than we do. But, to my way of thinking, this shows what a good job we have done as parents. Our children have been well-taught; they know how to find information for themselves, comprehend what they are reading, and are motivated to keep doing so. We ought to give ourselves a pat on the back and enjoy the fact that our children are learning, and we didn’t have to do a thing. Encourage them to keep up the good work. Encourage them to keep sharing what they find with the family. Encourage their love of learning.

Continue Teaching

The fact that our kids might know a little more than we do in a particular area should not prevent us from continuing on with the remainder of their learning. If we feel out of our depth, it might be time to find other ways to assist them. However, this should not discourage us from trying our best and moving forward. Things might need to change, but it doesn’t mean we need to give up. Keep pressing forward!

More or Just Different?

I’ve teased that my kids know more than I do, but, in truth, they don’t. They might have learned a few cool, new facts. They might remember dates better than I. What they’ve learned is not more, just different. Life experience and some Godly wisdom are on my side.

If your children are avid learners, take heart; you’ve done a great job in your parenting. Do not be discouraged when your children spout facts you never knew, read more books than you can, program an app that makes your head swim, and/or cook better than you on any given day. Their increase is a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication you’ve put into their education. Be proud of what your children are accomplishing, and train them to use it wisely.

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”
~ I Peter 5:5

Your Turn!: If applicable, in what area has your child surpassed you in knowledge?

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Humble Thyself

It creeps up on us sometimes, this sneaky need to have others recognize our hard work and diligent actions. Instead of being content to accomplish our goals, we want others to acknowledge our success.

Every once in a while it is important to take stock of our heart and humble ourselves. When pride takes over, it is vital that we put our lives into perspective; asking ourselves who really ought to be given the glory.

Nothing I accomplish is done of my own intelligence or incredible ability. The knowledge I do have has been acquired through learning what others had to teach; not a world-changing revelation I have discovered. If I have a certain capability, it has been taught or learned from watching others. My pride is misplaced.

It is just as important to teach this principle to our children. We are constantly encouraging our littles and telling them what a good job they are doing. If we homeschool, we often add to this by bragging about how smart they have become and how advanced they are compared to public schooled kids. If we do not balance these encouragements with lessons in humility we will end up with horrible children who think much too highly of themselves. How unpleasant it is to be around someone who can do nothing but talk of their own accomplishments and praises!

Instead of compliments issued out of our own mouths, we should look to uplift others. If acknowledgement is received, let it come from someone else. Admiration means so much more when it is unasked for and heartfelt.

One should also note that asking with the intent of receiving praise is just as unpleasant. “Did I do well?” Now, this should not be confused with the desire for honest feedback. Generally speaking, this question is asked with the intent of improvement or helping to better a performance. However, these tactics are also used when a person simply wishes to hear praise uttered on their behalf. (I have especially noticed this in the littles. ) They are not content to ask once, hoping to receive a truthful answer, but will ask this numerous times in hopes of receiving additional praise by which to bask in the glory.

How do we battle our sense of pride? By realizing that our goal is to point others to Christ and not ourselves. If we live for Him and do all things for Him, we will no longer crave a desire for other’s praise; we will be more concerned about others seeing Christ through us. I believe we can also accomplish this goal by seeking the good in others, instead of focusing on ourselves.

As a parent, nothing is more refreshing than to hear my children praise each other. They do not look to lift themselves up, but wish other people to admire their siblings instead. What a lovely notion! Unfortunately, this does not occur quite as often as every parent would like, but we are still learning and growing.

I want to make sure my heart is in the right place. Praise for myself should never leave my lips. Instead, I would rather focus on the good I find in others and find new ways to encourage them. I want to make sure my requests for prayer are meant to be just that and not an opportunity to brag about ministry opportunities or blessings on our life.

Pride is a hard pill to swallow, one I need to constantly be on the lookout for. Even just a little pride can lead to a world of trouble.

Time to Chime In: How do you deal with the issue of pride in your own home?

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” – Proverbs 27:2