by Lizzy Smith for Divorced Moms
July 09, 2016
I have two daughters who I love more than life itself. I (almost always) love spending time with them. Because when we do, and it's just us, we have some fascinating chats. We get to bond and get to know each other better. The trust factor increases and, generally, so does the "like" factor. Our favorite places to have these chats are generally at a great restaurant or in the car. It's one of the reasons I purchased another season of ski passes for them-- because our drive up to our favorite ski resort in Park City, Utah is 45 minutes of "us" time-- no distractions, electronics must be put away, we talk, we listen to music. It's one of my favorite times of our entire week. I also love a good road trip when it's just the three of us, exploring somewhere new and, yes, talking.
Not long ago, I attended a parenting class that was fantastic. As part of this class, we were given 10 open-ended, probing questions to ask our kids that would help ascertain the condition of their hearts. How are they really doing inside their heads? How are they processing their world? How loved, secured and supported do they feel from me? And there were questions that would help us delve into those meaty topics. I a sharing these questions with you and adding/tweaking them to fit my parenting style and concerns.
First, I did not ask all of these questions at once. It was more like one question per week. I would ask the question, and we would dialog it. Yes, I really listened to them. And over the course of the next, say, week or so, we would come back to these questions.
1. How is your heart?
This question can be rather open-ended. And when I asked them, I offered up very few clues as to what I even meant. I was basically asking how they felt inside-- grateful, angry, forgiving, optimistic... But this is the information I was really looking for. Were they struggling with friendships, adult relationships, depression, or did they have unrealized needs that were not being met. I started this one off myself.
How was my heart? At that time, it was felt with extreme gratefulness. I was alive. I had survived some pretty terrible medical treatments. I was slowly getting stronger and better. While I wasn't yet strong enough to ski with them, I was able to take them up to the slopes and sit in a coffee shop writing while they skied. I was able to make future vacation plans (Costa Rica was coming up!). But I also felt incredible anger and sorrow. How did I get sick in the first place? How was this fair to them? What if something happened to me? I kept these fears silent. Perhaps there was a time for it, but it wasn't then.
2. What do you worry about most?