It happens soon after children start talking. It’s an important part of their development. I call it: “The Question Phase.” (I’m extremely creative like that. And , I am currently too lazy to Google the appropriate term and too addle brained to remember it. I’m lucky to remember my cell # at this point. ) Anyway- During this phase a child’s only known method of punctuation is: the question mark.
“Why is? Why does? What if? When will? Who is? What is? How does? ” The questions pour out with every breath.
Some of the questions are cute… some are awkward. (Noticing the differences between boys and girls often coincides with this phase, thus exponentially increasing parental fun.) Some are downright embarrassing. (Epic embarrasing question upon walking accidentally walking into my backside: ” Mom? Why is your butt so boinky?” )
Fortunately- most are questions parents can easily answer. (Even if Google-fu is involved. Confession: I’m a Google Ninja. The answer to the boinky-butt question? Cupcakes. The end.) And- while the constant drip of questions can be as annoying as a leaky faucet- it can also make a parent feel absolutely brilliant. I admit it: knowing the answers to my kid’s questions makes me feel like a Mommy-Einstein.
At least, it used to.
Until, I stopped being able to answer them.
No- I didn’t suffer a massive brain injury (unless brain farts count as massive brain injury. But, I doubt they do.If so- there would be a lot of middle aged people on disability. Justsayin.) Nor, am I suffering from early onset- well…anything. The truth is-as my kids have matured-(My oldest two are 20 and almost 23) so have their questions. What used to be simply answered with a quick and sure reply- are now often answered with “I don’t know.” And: “What do you think?”
We now often share the same questions. Questions that can’t be answered easily. BIG questions. Questions about: pain, suffering, morality, politics, Old earth, Young Earth, (Middle Earth?) God, Grace, whether Twinkies will cease to exist and how long the current supply will last-and whether the Mayan’s should have been able to predict their own demise if they knew the world was going to end in 2012.
The truth is: I miss being the go-to for info. I miss having all the answers. Instead of feeling like Mommy-Einstein I feel stupid. and, as my kids ask the same questions I do- I worry about the answers they come up with and the discomfort they will feel when there isn’t a clear answer. But- I’m learning to enjoy the adult- child intimacy and wonder of shared questions.
That is- I enjoy it when I don’t feel afraid. When I was the go-to person- I knew what kind of answers they’d receive. (The right ones- duh.Like every other mom- I’m always right. Of course.) But, now? The truth is- I have less control. I used to be a fact-checker for their lives… and now they do their own fact checking. What if they are: WRONG? (We shall refrain from thinking about all the times I was wrong in answering their questions…. sorry about that- guys.)
This morning, as I prayed about questions and answers and kids…… I found myself feeling sorry. Sorry that I don’t have all the answers. Sorry that I am so inept and limited. Basically- sorry that I don’t know everything.
Which is about the time I remembered- I’m not supposed to.
Every phase of parenting has it’s own challenges of trust- in this phase it’s trusting that God becomes the Go-to for their questions- as He is mine.
And- that where there are no answers found- faith will bridge the gap.
As it should.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Dear Lord- I don’t have all the answers to my [adult] childrens’ questions- the truth is- i don’t have all the answers to my own questions. Help us to always turn to you for answers and help us to turn over to you the unanswered.. in faith and trust. Your ways are not ours- your thoughts are above ours- as it should be. I love you lord- thank you for the incredible children you’ve blessed us with- and thank you for the work you are and will continue to do in each of them- amen
Are you in the “Question phase?” Tell me the questions your kids are currently asking…. I love the way kids think! If you’re in the- sharing questions phase of mothering- how does it make you feel? What are you doing about it? I find myself praying more- this is a good thing;)