Want to know what one of the most wearying parts of my job is as a mother of six girls ages 2 to 15? All their questions! Yikes! I actually try to give intelligent, thoughtful, educational, and appropriate answers to each one of them, mostly out of habit. Sometimes I find myself muttering, "I don't know....Huh? What was that you said?"
My youngest child says, "WHY?!" to everything.
"Julia, please come here for your bath."
"Because it's time for your bath. You need a bath tonight."
And then I have another daughter who notices EVERYTHING and feels the need to comment on my decisions in question form.
"I thought you said we would go to the mall today. Aren't we going like you said?" and
"So and So and So and So took the last of the M&M's and you told them not to. Are you going to do anything about it?" and
"Didn't you say we were going to have pizza for dinner tonight? Why are we eating chicken?"
I have yet another daughter who is uber-curious. I've just answered the phone and am engaged in a new conversation. "Who is it?! Who's calling? Who's on the phone?" To which I answer with irritation and a harsh whisper, "So and So! Now stop interrupting me!" Sometimes I find myself purposely not answering her questions because she never stops wanting to know everything there is to know about anything and everything that is going on around her.
And there is the frequent line of questioning that goes something like this: "Where is my purple thingy?"
"What purple thingy?"
"You know - the purple thingy that we got last week at that place we went to?"
"Oh, never mind!"
Yet another oft-heard conversation in our house: "Where are my shoes?"
"Where you left them."
I have yet another daughter who will say something like, "Why is the moon white?" to which I reply, "Go ask your Dad!" Tim has lots of questions referred to him because he is Mr. Smarty Pants, really and truly.
UGH! and SIGH...I'm sure I'm doing something wrong by either 1) being irritated by all my daughters' questions, or 2) raising daughters that have so many questions! I'm not sure which one it is, but I suspect I'm doing something wrong by feeling irritated. I find it mentally fatiguing to always be "on" and having to answer questions, though. When my girls were little their whining was really challenging for me. Now that they still whine, but can do it articulately, and with questions, I'm even more challenged!
I think it boils down to the fact that I really like my own space to keep my thoughts to myself and not have demands made of me. I want to be selfish and self-absorbed and all those questions interrupt my own internal dialogue, forcing me to think and consider and attend to their inquiring minds. Sometimes I feel that they need correction for asking questions out of rudeness or challenging authority, when they should accept the situation they are faced with and not question so many things.I take some of those questions as a sign of discontent and an attitude of ungratefulness and complaining. Not always, though. Sometimes they are just curious. And being curious is a very beneficial quality that I hope they maintain for the rest of their lives.
I myself am a curious, question-asker. There is almost no subject that bores me. I learn so much from asking people questions and engaging in fact-finding missions with complete strangers. The stories I hear! The people I meet! The things they tell me! Wow! It really is fascinating. Everyone has a story and as I listen and observe and discern the heart and spirit of a person I've just met who is sharing their story, I discover evidences of God's imprint on them, his hand on their life, or their need for his compassion and wisdom. And there I am. Sometimes I reflect his care for them , and sometimes I don't.
Now if only I could remember that my girls have their story, too, and that I'm called to reflect his compassion, patience, and gentleness to them, too. Oh, Lord, give me wisdom, the right answers, and mental endurance! Oh, and please, add in a heavy dose of humor, too!