My parents always believed in the value of explaining things. It was a very rare thing to hear in our household, "Because I said so," or "Just because it does."
"Let's find out," or "Here's why" were much more popular in the Westfall home. For that I am very thankful. That teaching attitude that includes a healthy dose of respect for children was behind the explanation of many things that eventually stuck in this noggin of mine.
But perhaps what really stuck was the same attitude-hopefully. That means I am often explaining seemingly hopelessly lofty things to my two-year-old daughter.
I am finding what my parents undoubtedly did-that children are much smarter than they are given credit for. Since I was the fifth child they raised, I'm guessing they knew this axiom well by the time I came along.
Joellen continually amazes me at what she retains in that head of hers. On Thanksgiving Day she informed us that a stop sign is an octagon. No one knows how she knew that. Last week we were looking at the stars on a clear night and she said, "Oooh, I see a comet star!" "You see a comet?" I asked, and she confirmed that I had heard her correctly. How does she know what a comet is? We don't know.
This morning I explained to her that today was Epiphany or Three Kings Day, the day that the wise men arrived to see Baby Jesus. I have no doubt that tonight she will explain that right back to me.
So the next time a child asks you "Why?," give her credit and an explanation, she deserves it.