How many of your Sundays look like this?
You show up, and parking lot attendants greet you. Faithful teachers instruct you. Ushers find a seat for you. A well-practiced worship band leads singing for you. Your pastor preaches a faithful, God-glorifying sermon to you. Childcare workers care for your children. And after all that, you pick up your kids and simply return home.
Sometimes I want to feel like I can talk out loud. I want to talk about what it’s like not being able to have more children. How years upon years can go by and nothing happens… and how bad that hurts. I want to talk about the lies that constantly swirl around about not being whole… the lie of being a failure for not being able to produce. Whenever my wife and I open up about where we are, people say the most insane/insensitive things:
“You should be quiet, you already have one.”
“You should focus more on others.”
“You should come up with a plan to adopt and be ready to start next week.”
Why can’t others just listen? Why can’t we mourn together? Why is it so hard to just pray and be?
Eric Schumacher wrote a post yesterday titled “Dads Hurt Too: A Father’s Memoir of Miscarriage“. Made me cry. Even though my wife and I haven’t experienced a miscarriage (that we know of… there are different types of miscarriages), I get where he is coming from. I’ve heard the same lies:
Comparison pointed a paw at our living children—three of them, then four, then five—and demanded, “What right have you to mourn a child you never knew, when you have all these?” Comparison thrust the faces of friends before my own—friends who could not conceive, friends without a living child, friends whose children died in the crib or in college—and mocked, “You mourn, but not as those who have no kids. Others are worse off; stifle your sorrow.”
There comes a point where you feel like you should just be silent. The hurt experienced from opening up and talking in community not worth the price.
- Why do we, as Christians, go silent when others who are hurting pour their hearts out?
- Why do we act like we have no power when we claim Jesus lives in us?
I feel like I should be able to talk, especially around fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and yet I can’t.
Sending your child to school isn’t easy. You’re sending them off into the unknown. Sure, you know that there is safety and structure, but you have no clue what their teacher might be like. No clue what is going on in the classroom or the playground. Unless you ask.
To cut through the fog of school, you need to frame questions in a specific way. Questions that move beyond simple one word answers.
Instead of asking: How was school today?
Ask: Who did you play with today on the playground?
And as a follow up: What did you play?
Parenting is all about playing the role of the detective. Ask questions and then listen. Be present. Avoid distracting thoughts. Your child knows when they have your full attention.
Questions to further push through:
- What made you laugh today?
- Who did you sit by at lunch?
- What was the most fun part of your day?
- Did anything surprise you today?
- What did you learn in music (P.E., computer lab, etc.) today?
As you listen to your child, you’ll discover what frustrates and excites them. Don’t be afraid to turn one of their answers into a teachable moment. It is your job, as a parent, to help your child make sense of the world. To cut through the fog.
What questions do you ask your kids?