My five-year-old daughter is fascinated with cooking shows. Cupcake Wars, Iron Chef, Chopped, Paula Deen—if it involves food, she’s a fan. So the other day, while exploring risotto on Everyday Italian with lovely chef hostess Giada De Laurentiis, our inquisitive preschooler popped this question.
“Dad, what is that line?”
“What do you mean, sweetheart? What line?” My unassuming husband walked straight into the trap.
“You know, that line,” she said, “on the lady’s chest.”
Ohhhh! Heaven help us. Our daughter was clearly referring to the busty Food Network star’s cleavage, which, if you ask me, begs more attention than her recipes.
“Well, that’s. . . part of her boobies,” my husband replied straight on. God bless him. He flipped the channel to Nick, Jr.
Don’t you love a curious child? Today my daughter is asking about cleavage; tomorrow I imagine she’ll want to know how babies are made. I’m not ready for that one yet.
There are deeper questions, of course—about faith and heaven and death—that we have to face through our children’s eyes. As parents we have a tremendous opportunity to shape their reality with our answers.
Why can’t I see God?
Are angels in my room right now?
When will I go to heaven?
Why did your friend’s husband die?
Do all people die, Momma?
Sometimes these questions make my eyes sting. I want to scoop my daughter up and squeeze her, protect her, preserve her innocence, inhale her childlike faith. And I realize I cannot do this alone. I need to stay ever close to Jesus in order to guide my children to where he stands.
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15).
Perhaps before I attempt to tackle my daughter’s questions, I need to answer a few of my own.
Have I placed the Lord in charge of my heart today?
Am I studying his Word and filling my internal reference desk with truth?
Am I praying for wisdom to teach and encourage my girls?
Am I respecting my child’s inquiry, not brushing it off or laughing at it?
Am I speaking gently?
And why in the world are we allowing our five-year-old to watch Everyday Italian?
“No more Giada,” I said, shooting my husband a raised-eyebrow scolding. From now on, if this family wants risotto, I’ll cook it myself—in a turtleneck, thankyouverymuch.