Sunday, September 20, 2009
Answering Questions -- by Clint
It seems like one of the most common responsibilities of a parent is to answer the plethora of questions that one’s children ask. You know what I mean. Questions like:
“What do leaves taste like?”
“Why are you so fat?”
Stuff like that.
Normally, it isn’t all that difficult to answer those questions.
“It depends upon what type of leaves you are talking about.”
“Because I eat too much and I don’t exercise enough – but don’t ask that again, because it is rude.”
See, it is easy.
When I served as a protestant minister, it even seemed like it was fairly easy to answer the questions of a religious nature. I mean, I was “the preacher.” I could always cobble together some type of intelligible answer. Since I tended to know more than anyone else around, even if I was not entirely clear, I could usually do better than most folks.
Then came the conversion to Orthodoxy. I am no longer “the expert.” Often my kids will ask questions that I simply have no idea how to answer. And I really mean that I can’t even cobble together some semblance of an answer.
“How does the Jesus Prayer help?”
“When did Nestorius start to go bad?”
OK, they really haven’t asked either of those questions, but I hope you get my point. In many ways, I am on the same level as my kids. I am a neophyte. It is humbling and I suppose that is good.
My wife recently said that every new Orthodox family should be assigned their own personal “little Babushka” to answer all those types of questions. Honestly, I don’t know if it is really practical to give us all a little old woman who can handle those questions, but it might be something to consider.
Really, I think that perhaps that is one way that those of us who are parents can struggle with those questions, and then pass along what we learn to our children. In any event, my status as “all knowing” has taken a hit with my kids. I may not like that, but it was inevitable anyway.