Shopping at Old Navey I overhear a boy, maybe 3 years old say to his mother, “Mommy is that a girl?” I turn to see who spoke and the mother looks around and doesn’t say anything. I feel for her. But I love her boy. Kids ask the greatest questions. Most difficult and at the same time most simple and necessary questions. These are hard questions for adults. We’ve lived longer, been hurt more, and done our share of hurting. And through it all I think we’ve forgotten how to have a real conversation. The poet Antonio Machado writes “to have a conversation, ask a question first, then – listen.” Simple. Except our questions tend to be rhetorical, and we only listen for things to oppose.
Of course that boy in Old Navy isn’t aware of any of this. He just wants to know if I am a girl. He asks and then would have listened had someone been there to offer a possible answer. But it wasn’t nearby, and know one knew how to answer. They didn’t know how to answer, I believe, they don’t dare or know how or feel it’s appropriate to ask.
So if anyone cares, or wants, or isn’t sure about a question, just ask yourself: do I want to understand and am I prepared to listen. If the answers are both yes, then ask. For the love of mankind we need you to ask.