February 20, 2013 § 2 Comments
This tiny word has peppered my days as a mother, each question mark carving out space for conversations. Some days the questions are easy and I relish the security that the answer is within reach. At times the absence of an answer creates a quest for information. On rare occasions, a question will haunt me with truths that weigh on my heart and mind.
This weekend there were no answers. My daughter wanted to know why children are unkind and why adults allow unkindness. School girl giggles and playground misbehavior have made my daughter acutely aware of unkindness. She watches strong children manipulate weaker children under adult supervision and her unease with the injustice sat between us, palpable.
I could no more label children bad than I could dismiss their behavior as acceptable. I could not point fingers without first accepting my responsibility alongside my daughter as witness to harm. Unkindness is an experience we share collectively.
Rather than provide false reassurance with dismissive answers, I asked a new question. How can I help?
For now I am doing my best to give my daughter a vocabulary that will empower her to extend belonging to those who cannot be left uncared for while reminding her of her own self-worth. I am interrupting moments of unkindness with information and inviting children and adults to remap expectations of acceptable behavior. I am carving out room for conversations that begin with questions in search of answers.