I have a strong relationship with God and I try to cultivate the same within my daughter. Well, I should say I try to convey why I value my relationship with God so much, in hopes that she, too, will want that same relationship with God for herself.
While driving her to school recently, we discussed birthdays. She had just been invited to a birthday party for a friend and was very excited. However, she felt that because her friend’s birthday was during the school year, that somehow her friend (and all those with birthdays during the school year), didn’t have to wait as long as she did for their birthday to come around. I explained that everybody has to wait 365 days for their birthday to circle back again and that no one’s birthday comes faster than another. I mentioned something about God choosing a date for one to be born, and that’s it—it cannot be changed. My daughter then said that He has plans for us and knows our future. I agreed.
I used this opportunity to elaborate a bit on my belief that God does have plans for our lives and that while those plans, overall, are for our benefit, it doesn’t mean that “bad” things won't happen. This sparked my daughter’s curiosity. She questioned God’s plans for “good” and how some people behave badly. She had difficulty reconciling the two. I then explained that while I believe God has a plan for our lives, that we also have free will to make choices of our own. I explained that we don’t know whether one’s behavior is aligned with what God planned or not; and it's not for us to decide. I explained that what’s important is for us to try and use clues in our own lives to determine if we’re on God’s course. I told her that I use my heart and my tummy to tell me and that I do my best to listen and follow those clues.
I really enjoy these conversations with my daughter. I appreciate her inquiry and the dialogue that results. I am hopeful that our conversations will leave her with clarity on what I believe and value, but also give her the space to develop her own.
Be open to what comes.