Daily home life is about answering a million questions when you are dad to a 6 and 7 year old. They come programmed with inquisitive and enquiring minds that refuse to be satisfied with bland standard answers! You have to be super creative and on your game to come out tops!
From ‘how do babies come out of mummy’s belly?, and ‘why is too much chocolate bad for you?’ to ‘are you going to die, daddy?’. Some questions are easier to tackle than others. But it is an unrelenting flow!
Over time, I have become better at navigating this daily minefield of tricky questions. I try to answer them as truthfully as possible, in language they can understand without shattering their innocence before time.
For those trickier questions like ‘are you going to die daddy?’, I have mastered the art of framing my answers in a way that shuts down potentially akward follow up questions – ‘Daddy is going to be around for as long as you need him to be’. That answer worked … for now.
My wife is a purer soul than I am. She tends to speak straight from the heart in the moment; no filters. That’s great, except when you are under siege from a volley of questions from a 6 and 7 year old! I have often had to dive in to rescue her from sticky situations, answering a question on mummy’s behalf. Between us, I think we got the balance right. Phew!
A wise friend whose daugthers are now in teenage and early adulthood, reminds me that I should treasure this time. At age 6 & 7, the kids come to me with their questions. Now I can take it for granted, but not for long.
In the years to come, I would have to earn the right to be a trusted friend, confidant and ‘answerer of questions’ amongst the competing voices out there in world. Scary thought!
My friend tells me I have to start earning that right now by building a relationship of trust and mutual respect with the kids now, that endures into future years.
Wow! Just reflecting on that for a moment …
I started this piece cocky and confident about my parenting skills. Now I am not so sure. I’m I striking the right balance between answering their questions truthfully and preserving their childlike view of the world around them?