They Ask, and Sometimes They Listen
by Julie Davidson
There’s no doubt there are many times you speak to your kids and you’re pretty sure they aren’t listening. But when they ask questions, there’s a good chance they want the answer, and they will be listening.
Lately Miles, who is nine years old, has been asking questions about things when he is older. He recently asked me if he had to leave when he was 18. My husband and I want our kids to explore the world, and somewhere along the line we suggested that at 18 the boys could move out.
One night Miles was sobbing and said he didn’t want to have to move when he turned 18. Oh man. Poor kid. He thought we were literally going to set his stuff out and change the locks in nine years. Chances are he will be ready and willing to leave then, but now he is feeling like the clock is ticking.
As I wiped away his tears, I explained to him, “Sweetie, you can stay as long as you want. When you feel ready, then you can move out.”
He seemed instantly relieved. I figured that wasn’t a good time to tell him my parents gave me luggage for my birthday when I was a senior in high school. I kid you not. But only two pieces. My Godparents gave me the other matching pieces.
He also asked me how he would know how and when to pay his bills. At this point I thought about saying that when the lights won’t turn on and your car is being towed away, you might have missed a payment. Or five. But he was truly concerned about it. I told him that when he’s older, his father and I would show him how to set up accounts and how to get money to where he needed it. Again, instant relief.
I don’t know how long mosquitos live. And I forget the names of all the planets. And yes, I can’t recall all the capitols of all 50 states. But I am coming to understand that when kids ask those questions is when they are really listening.
The other day my son asked, “How will I find a wife?”
I explained to him that when he meets the right girl, he will know. I told him that whoever he marries should be nice and do special things for him. I explained that maybe she would write notes to him. Or cook dinner. To that he replied, “No. That is a man’s job in the modern day world.”
I have no idea who told him that, but I am so glad he listened to that one.