Previous Post: The Hidden Calling of a Parent
The hidden calling of a parent is hospitality. When we welcome our children as guests, we will quickly discover a dramatic reduction in certain forms of speech: orders, reprimands, tirades, exasperated sighs, criticism. We would never treat a guest in this way.
But how do we treat a guest?
I suppose there are endless possibilities, but when we invite guests into our home, I know we ask a lot of questions. And not just superficial questions like, “Where are you going next?” or “What did you do today?” We acknowledge we have more to learn about the guest, and we hope the time spent will draw us closer to them. So, we ask questions about who this person is, without trying to persuade them to be someone else.
One reader, Deborah, suggested that, as parents, if we can calm our frustrations and let go of our fears about our children, we would make space for curiosity. And with curious questions, we might transform our children into guests.
For instance, to our video-game-playing children, we might typically say, “You’ve been playing that game too long. Turn it off and go outside.” But to a guest, we would be far more likely to sit down, and to ask, “What are you playing?” We might even ask, “Why do you like this game; what makes you keep coming back to it?” or even “Can I play with you?”
I knew a man who had fought for years with his teenage son about video game playing. It was a wedge in their relationship. So, at the beginning of his son’s senior year of high school, he decided to be a host to his son, and he began playing the games with him, and using the time to ask about his son’s life. By the time his son was a freshman in college, they nightly played Xbox Live together, talking by headset and connecting over the miles.
Curiosity and questions. May you wonder and ask, and may your children discover a shelter from the storm, in the arms of a parent-host.
What questions would you ask a guest? Have you had success with asking your children particular questions? Please feel free to share your successes with us in the comments below. We will all benefit from your experience and wisdom.
Tuesday Tip Disclaimer: The Tuesday Tip is not professional advice. It should be read as you would read a “self-help” book. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor, who can become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. Counselors can be located through your insurance network or through your state psychological association website.
Reading by Feed or E-mail?
Click here to visit the website, where you can subscribe by email, share the post with the share buttons at the bottom of each page, and comment on any post.
Click here to visit the Facebook page.
Click here to visit the Twitter page.