Mom, I have a question. Over the years this has been a frequent opening line from our children. It can precede a request for a friend to come over, money for a movie, tonight’s dinner menu or something much deeper. It’s their way of saying, I’ve got something on my mind and I don’t quite know where to start.
As the years have come and gone the topics have gone from requests for a friend to come over, help with a game or toy, to relationships that are hurting, major decisions or help with struggles on an adult scale. And, no surprise, I don’t have the answer. Oh, I have the answer to tonight’s dinner menu, well, maybe, but when it comes to the tough questions, I’m as stumped as any parent. Some questions have nice, simple, clear answers. But usually the most important questions seem to jump up out of nowhere and almost take your breath away. They’re the type of question that gets answered from your heart, your experience and from your own hurt or disappointment. It’s so easy to start talking before you think. Those questions deserve more than a quick answer. When I’ve been slow to speak and quick to listen it’s been better not to answer at all but ask a question in return and let them share in the discovery of thinking through the possibilities. I think those have been some of the best Q & A times we’ve shared.
The questions still come even though our 3 are hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Only now, they come by text, cell, email or whatever the latest language might be. And I hope they keep coming for a long time.