We had one of those moments yesterday. The moment when your delightfully curious but uninhibited toddler asks a question and you just freeze.
Typically, I would tell you I am really good at those questions and I am. I do really well when Max throws them at me all day long.
Body Parts ✅
Tough Cultural Issues ✅
That thing he just heard that wasn’t for his ears ✅
I’ve got those. I have those down pat when he asks me. I welcome his questions. This is how I would approach those questions:
Only answer the question asked.
Ask questions if you aren’t sure of the question.
Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know and learn together.
These are all the things I would tell you if you told me that your child had an awkward question for you. Except yesterday morning, his question wasn’t for me.
We had the chance to hear Corporal Josh Bleill speak yesterday at St. Luke’s UMC as part of their “Faith in the Real World” series. His message of faith was inspiring. I felt blessed to hear him speak as I’m approaching a major surgery this week. You can hear his speech on St. Luke’s website and I’ll link it as soon as they have it posted. I highly recommend it. He’s funny and inspiring.
After the service we always stick around for donuts. Yesterday it was just the boys and I; which left me outnumbered. As we turned the corner from our time of fellowship, Corporal Bleill was still outside the chapel. Max was ahead and I was trying to keep Liam moving in the right direction. From twenty feet behind, I saw the head tilt. The head tilt that means a question is forming. The head tilt that means you never know what is going to pop out of Max’s mouth.
He positioned himself right in front of this man who just graciously shared his story with us and loudly asks him “Why do you have robot legs?”.
You see part of Corporal Bleill’s story is the loss of both legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq. As he shared his recovery and faith with us, the message was full of hope and inspiring. When I realized he was still there, I was going to tell him that on the way by. Except now I was standing there speechless and embarrassed as my preschooler unabashedly waited for an answer to his inquiry.
Corporal Bleill did the thing I would have coached you to do and currently I was failing miserably at. He answered his question honestly and kindly. He answered his follow up questions honestly and kindly. He saw his question for what it was: the unbridled curiosity of a preschooler. Curiosity to encourage because that’s how learning and understanding happen. Curiosity that will learn tact in time.
I tried to mumble a thank you. I might have got it out. I’m not sure I did though. If I was thinking straight I would have said “Thank you” thank you for sharing your story that inspired me as I move into my own tough things this week. Thank you for connecting with my inquisitive preschooler. Thank you for showing him grace at what was a bit of an awkward question. Thank you for helping him grow in his understanding while I was fumbling with my words.