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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Questions for a little child's heart from a Parent...

It was a simple moment, really.

I was sitting on the floor, Aly was sitting on the couch.  We were lounging just before bed.  Heidi was upstairs taking Tay to the woodshed for a misdemeanor of some sort.  Kami was gone on a Middle School retreat, so Aly and I were just sitting silent in the living room together.

The knee-jerk reaction is the turn on the television to break the awkward silence, if only to have some white noise in the background to distract you from the fact that you're alone in the same room together.  It's funny how much we hate simplicity and silence almost allergically reacting to its presence.  But I try to lean into these moments not letting them force my hand.

I leaned back against the couch and asked Aly a simple question that led to thread of questions:

1. What is your favorite smell?  At first she sat there stunned both by the nature of the question and a wonderment as to the out-of-nowhere reason behind it.  But I tilted my head and asked her again.  She gave me an answer that I wouldn't have know if I hadn't of asked point-blank.  This made me more curious...
2. What is your favorite sight?
3. What is your favorite taste? (I was working my way through the senses)
4. What is your favorite feeling with your fingers?
5. What is your favorite sound?  (a horse chewing grass)

This led to another line of questions just off the "5 senses" path...

6. What is your favorite thing to hear said to you?  (she said "good job, Aly")
7. What is your favorite name to be called?  (she said Grace)
8. What is your favorite memory?
9. What is your favorite thing you've ever written?
10. What is your favorite word or phrase?
11. What is your favorite thing we do as a family?

This led me to something called "word association" where I say a word and she says the first word that comes to her mind related to what I said.  This is astounding and a great way to get to know your child's unedited thoughts without them knowing you were peeling back there facade.

12. Fear
13. Nature
14. Church
15. Family
16. Ice Cream
17. Sisters
18. God
19. School
20. Future

We went on and on...from one topic to the next, one word to the next...and out of nothing we created a moment that was precious.

If you're ever looking for something simple to do with your child...sometimes it's so obvious that you miss it.  Questions.  When they're young, they love being interrogated and you gotta seize this opening while you still have the chance...'cause whether we like it our not, the window gets harder to open the older they get and the colder we get.

Sometimes I think our kids just want to know if we care about them and want to know what they think about stuff.


Debbie said...

So often the only time I interrogate is when they are in trouble. If I ask these questions often I may know my child better and will not have to interrogate when their in trouble. I will already know why, because I will know them much better. Sometimes it is the only time we demand to know our child is when they are in trouble and then it is very hard to get to the real heart of the matter cause they are trying to find a way out!!!!Thanks Jason!!

drbeach said...

Wonderful dialogue! This activity is called building a Love Map-a great activity for any two people, especially those of a spousal relation.
They're dynamic; they need updating frequently, and they're well worth remembering.
"Treasure Maps" works, too.

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