Father

Answering the tough questions

Once upon a time the tough child-to-parent questions were from curious but naive faces. Whether one actually gets “why is the sky blue” or “does God exist” or other classics, we surmount them with pat answers that satisfy or children long enough for them to forget about it. Young minds aren’t built for philosophy and the way the world works.

Teenage and pre-teen minds are. You explain unions, and strikes and lockouts. What Spin the Bottle really is. How Ouija boards work/don’t work. That Spam was canned meat but is now undesirable email, and why that sort of works. Why Paul Manafort was indicted – what indicted means – why it’s trouble for the current president. What Hurricane Florence is doing. What religion is about, and whether science or religion (or neither) has the answers to the big questions.

It’s humbling to realize that you are passing on your opinions even as you try not to. You explain the different viewpoints and counterarguments so your children can form their own opinions. Then you hear them mirror it back to you, to their friends, to other adults, and you realize what you have wrought – a living mini-me on ever growing bodies that will soon ask even tougher questions. Even then, however, being able to answer those questions will also be a joy.

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