I recently remarked that living with small children who have questions about everything is like being pecked to death by ducks.
My friend, who has a bit of the devil in her, sent me an infographic stating a four-year-old typically asks 437 questions a day.
Suddenly my world made sense!
I don’t have a four-year-old at present, but I do have a seven, five, and three-year-old and then there’s Bubby who may not ask questions but is certainly comfortable making his voice heard. Questions are a LARGE part of my day.
In the midst of the basic, mundane, and downright silly questions about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the kiddos usually sneak a serious topic in, a question that deals with theology or morality, how we treat others and how they treat us. Racism, sexism, religiousity… these are the questions that rear their ugly heads without warning in our household.
It’s fun talking to the kids as they figure out life. The first time they ask a serious question about the birds and the bees I’m probably going to want to run for cover, but so far our questions have been within the realm of comfortability.
But after spending some time thinking about the 500+ questions I receive from my children every day I started wondering how many questions I ask myself on a daily basis.
I have a running dialogue in my head about whether I’m making the next right choice.
As I prepare lunch I question whether I should heat lunch up in the plastic or put it on a glass plate to avoid chemicals. The kids ask me if they can have a snack and I question whether they can eat their lunch if I say yes.
I find so many principles in conflict and I question my judgement.
- If my goal is to say, “yes” as often as possible… why do I have to say, “No,” so often?
- Are relationships really a mess worth making? Why isn’t being a mom easier, more intuitive?
- Am I guiding these young lives in a way that will make them useful human beings, well-adjusted, contributing members of society?
These questions swirl around my head on a constant basis, providing background noise to my thoughts as I go about my business of wiping noses, wiping bottoms, and wishing everyone in the household knew how to keep the hand towel on the rack!
The worst part of this whole venture? I don’t have the answers to my questions. It’s a cruel twist of fate for this control freak – I don’t have the answers and, in some cases, even a vague direction for the questions that pester me.
I do have a coping strategy, however. In the midst of all of those questions about whether I’m parenting “right” and such, I have learned a few truths:
God is not a God of fear. If I’m scared it’s a trick being used to distract me from faith.
There is no right way. There are many useful techniques of parenting available, but there is no sure and prefect way to parent perfectly.
Children are gracious. When I make mistakes my children are constantly willing to offer forgiveness and a hug on the back side. Saying, “I’m sorry,” to my kiddos is healthy for me when I’ve made a mistake and teaches them that apologizing is a skill valid for everyone in life.
Children are resilient. How many of us can look back at our childhoods and see that our parents took a misstep or two? And guess what, we survived. We’re ok. Our parents are only human and did the best they could at the time. Our kids are going to survive our bumbling parent attempts, too!
What do you do when the questions threaten to overwhelm you?