When you realize you don’t know everything

In his latest book, “Familyhood,” Paul Reiser says the most challenging part of being a dad, is trying to postpone the moment when they realize you don’t know anything. Can you recall the first question your child asked, to which you didn’t know the answer (or didn’t know how to answer?) Or do you remember the first question you asked your parent that they weren’t sure how to answer?

From Gayle King

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15 Responses to When you realize you don’t know everything

  1. Jason says:

    Driving home from the grocery store:
    Hunter: Dad you see that bird up there.
    Me looking around while trying to drive: yea I see it.
    Hunter: How come?
    Me: What do you mean?
    Hunter: How come dad?
    Me: I don’t understand what you mean!
    Hunter: How come that bird up there?
    Best answer I could come up with was it just is Hunter, to which he followed up with How Come……

  2. SKL says:

    My kids are pretty young, but probably the closest we’ve gotten to that are Miss E’s questions about God, and the motives behind imperialism and war. Questions that adults still don’t agree on.

    Oh, and about the musicals for which we have soundtracks. It’s been at least 20 years since the time I saw the Phantom from a really bad seat. Can’t say I remember much about it. But my kids keep asking me all kinds of questions about it. Also the whole life story of the Von Trapp family (beyond what’s in the movie), on which I am NOT an expert.

    Come to think of it, I say “I don’t know” / “that’s a good question” to my kids a lot.

    And just this morning, Miss E asked, “Does the Easter Bunny give coal?” Followed by: “do Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny work together?” (To which I answered, “it’s quite possible that they share their “bad kids” lists with each other via email.”)

    I think with my parents, it might have been the question of what happens to babies who die before they were baptized. There were people at church who were convinced that they went to Hell. My dad told us that he didn’t personally believe that. But of course no human really knows.

    Oh, and speaking of kids’ questions, lately mine have been curious about whether same-sex marriages are allowed. To which I answer, “not in [our state].” Next topic, please!

  3. mssc54 says:

    Good timing. Our seven year old son (just this afternoon) asked me, “Dad, do you know the cuss words?”

    • Joy says:

      LMAO!!! What did you tell him?

      • mssc54 says:

        Porter: Dad do you know the curse words?

        Me: Yes. Why?

        Porter: Shrugs shoulders, tilts head to the side. Then asks, What are they?

        Me: Why are you asking me about curse words? Did you here someone cursing?

        Porter: I don’t know any curse words. Will you teach them to me?

        Me: With a slight grin – Well you’ve never heard me curse, so how about you just repeat the words you hear me say.

        Porter: Okay. Then goes and jumps in the pool.

        I wish I could see what is going on in his mind. Lol

  4. Ellen says:

    My oldest son kept asking following up questions, most technical, which I could not answer, so I told him to go to ask his dad. Unfortunately, he often forgot to do that when his dad came home 🙂 But most questions I cold “answer” by finding with them the answer. Just by letting them think about their questions and finding the answers, made them remember them much better. Often, when they ask a question, and you are telling them the answer, they already have their mind on something else and they do not hear your answer :-).

  5. Ellen says:

    BTW What a beautiful header you have again, Joy! Is that the same I “borrowed” last year from you? 🙂

  6. I can’t remember the first time I asked my parents a question they couldn’t answer. I think my parents always tried to tell me the truth when I was little, even if it was difficult. Then again, maybe I just wasn’t a very curious child! 😛

  7. Nikki says:

    I don’t remember ever asking my mom too much. I’m sure I did, I just can’t remember.

    Bailey’s asked me all kinds of questions and I answer them as honestly as I know how to. I can’t think right off hand of a particular one though! I’ll think about this one…

  8. Joy says:

    I always told my kids the closest thing to the truth as I could. I had a harder time with things like Jason said above. The “what if” questions or the questions that just came up during our normal living. Once Jason was about 5 and he asked me what it felt like to be able to hear out of both my ears. He’s deaf in one ear so I had no clue what to say so I turned it around and asked him what it felt like to only hear out of one. I didn’t know what to say.

    Another time Toby asked me “what’s a nickel” and it took on a life of it’s own. I didn’t know what he meant and I did the whole it’s 5 pennies of half a dime. He always loved money but nothing I told him make him quit asking. I can still hear his voice asking me that. We were at Bennett Family Park. Isn’t that weird?

    • SKL says:

      My younger siblings used to always ask me how much a monetary unit was worth in some past year. “How much was a dime in 1854?” And if I said “I don’t know” they would get angry, thinking I was just brushing them off.

      • Joy says:

        Isn’t that funny? Like it was still a dime. Sometimes things just don’t make sense.

        • SKL says:

          To clarify, they wanted to know how much it would cost today to buy what a dime would buy back then. Does that make more sense? It may be a good question, but how am I supposed to know what a dime could buy all through history??

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