Truth vs Opinion

…These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children…

– Deuteronomy 6:6-7

A few nights ago after dinner an odd conversation came up. I cannot remember exactly how it did, as are many of the conversations around the table with a 4 and 6 year old, but the one for that particular night involved armpits.

Yes, armpits. But at least this one did not involve food going in them.

So joining in this intriguing discussion, I threw out a comment to my 6 year old son. I told him that arm pits are like opinions, everyone has at least two of them and they are all trying to make them smell better. He didn’t get it. But he did better than most adults do when they don’t get something. He asked questions. On of which was, “What’s an opinion?”

That’s a good question to ask. I told him that an opinion is what you think about something and gave him a few examples. You think pizza tastes good. You think green is the best color. You think Batman is an awesome superhero. You think playing in the dirt is one of the best things ever.

As we talked a little light popped on. It’s the light that clicks on when there is a chance to teach something bigger. He was understanding what an opinion was, so I grabbed an apple and showed it to my son and we had this short conversation:

“What is this?”

“An apple.”

“Right, and that is not an opinion, that is the truth. You can have an opinion about apples, that you like the way they taste or their color, but you cannot have an opinion on what it is. What if told you this is an orange. What would you say?”

“No, it’s an apple.”

“But what if I believed it was an orange?”

“It’s still an apple.”

“Right! What we believe about something does not change the truth. We can have different opinions about something that is true, but we cannot change what is true by our opinions.”

And I left it at that for now, and hopefully in the future I can build on that and attach other truths to it.

I share this little story for two reasons. One is to show that even a child can understand this concept that our world has abandoned with its relativistic thinking.

The second is to encourage other dads. This conversation was not hard to have, you just have to look for them. If teaching your child about truth, God, or the gospel, is at the front of your mind then the light will click on when you’re in a situation or when your kids say something you can use. Jump on it and use those moments to help teach your kids the things they need to hear most. As a dad, this is one of your most important and rewarding jobs.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9