The Questions of a Child

Written by Hollye Dexter

The Thinker

Driving home from school each day, these are the questions I get from Evan, almost seven years old. They come out of nowhere, and I’m never quite ready for them…
When is the future?
Who is the first person that caused the traffic?
Why can’t we go fast and slow at the same time?
What is war?
When was Santa Claus born?
If Santa is old, does that mean he’ll die soon?
Can children die?
Did Hitler kill children? Even babies?
What is disease?
Can children get a disease?
Will you die before me, Mommy?
Is magic real?
Who is the world’s youngest person?
Who is God?
Why did someone kill Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Will someone kill Santa?
This is just last week’s worth of questions. It has always been my policy to answer my children’s questions in a simplistic, age-appropriate and honest way. But tell me…what is the simple answer to any of these?
Oh how I wish he could stay in the magic bubble of belief where Santa and toothfairies are real and children never die and good guys always win. But as I watch him ingesting my “simple” answers, I can see him changing. No longer is he the five-year-old boy that didn’t know what the word “death” meant, nor the six-year-old boy who believed that all people lived to be 100 years old. 
I can only hope to keep improving my own outlook on the “real world”, to expose Evan to beauty and art and culture and philanthropy, and hope that he inherits faith and hope from us as he makes his way into this crazy-beautiful, messy, chaotic world of wonder. 
In the meantime, I’d better steel myself for next week’s questions…

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  1. matters that matter

    Love this…my 30 year old daughter has a one year old daughter. The both look at me with questions? "Mom, what does it mean when she does that?" "Gram, why the hell aren't we riding bikes right now?" I think the questions never stop, now does my inability to answer them all. What a lucky little boy to have you for a mom.

  2. Hollye Dexter

    I hope so, Kristine. As you well know, being a parent is the hardest job in the world and no matter how much experience you have, you still never know if you're doing it right or setting them up for a lifetime of therapy!


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