beka stays relational : questions and answers

Annie is one of the kids I nanny for. She’s 3 years old. And as a 3 year old, she has many, many, (MANY) questions about the world. Almost every sentence ends in, “but why?” And the ones that don’t end in “but why?” end in just plain “why?” I like coming up with creative answers to her questions that will make her think even more about her (inevitable) next question. Half because it’s good for her imagination and half because it gives me an extra few seconds in between questions. But this time around, she was the one who made me think about my own questions and answers. We had this conversation while tying shoelaces last week:

“Beka?”

“Yes, Annie?”

“What’s your daddy’s name?”

“My daddy’s name is Don.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s what his parents named him.”

“But why?”

“They must have really liked that name.”

“What does Don do?”

“Well…he helps people.”

(The best way to avoid an answer that involved prison, inmates, and other details that would have boggled a 3 year old mind.)

“How?”

“He gives them Bibles, and teaches them lessons, and tells them about Jesus.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s important for people to know how much Jesus loves them.”

(Momentary pause to think it all over.)

“And what’s your mommy’s name?”

“Her name is Martie.”

“But why?”

“Because that’s what her parents named her.”

“What does Martie do?”

“She helps kids in school.”

“How?”

“She helps them get on and off the bus and she feeds them lunch and she makes them smile.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s important to help kids and make them smile.”

And in her simple stream of questions, Annie helped me understand fundamental truths about my parents that I’d never given much thought to before: I was born into a family of helpers, to parents who care more about doing something that matters than doing something that makes money. Besides raising me in a home that put faith first, it’s the most important lesson they’ve ever taught me, and it was never once spoken. It was enacted.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for living lives that reflect your values and for imparting those values to me. And thank you, Annie, for asking an incalculable number of questions throughout the day. Especially ones like these.

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