About Living from the Heart ~

We live by stories passed on for generations about who we are
and where we should be going. But these stories don't always let us live our best lives, because they aren't our personal legends.

Living from the Heart is about discovering our own stories. Choices with Intention. It is the journey to be true to ourselves and to dare to be all God and the Universe made us to be.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I don't have to know it all..

I spent my early years of mothering trying to answer every childish question. My daughter was new to the planet and naturally had a healthy dose of curiosity. However, she is hitting 9 this year and i have no one but myself to blame for her tendency to question everything. But that's still okay really. It's that she just shoots off questions without thinking whether it's worth asking or not that irks me. When my second daughter developed the same annoying tendency, i knew i had to do something to keep sane.

And that's when it dawned on me that in life, it's not whether i have all the answers. Because like my kids, i could be asking useless questions and filing away unnecessary information. And then i also realised that it's not actually possible to have all the 'right' answers because the world and it's thousand variables keep evolving, and lately at an alarming rate too. I can't keep up anymore. And honestly, i don't think my kids could or should either. After all it's not exactly that impressive to walk around with a smug know-it-all attitude because on most days, people aren't really even asking.

And that's when it really hit me. Who's asking? Asking. Questions. QUESTIONS.
Suddenly it became clear to me that it doesn't matter as much how good i am at giving answers as it is for me to be able to ask good questions.

If i can ask good questions, i won't have to worry about information overload. Not if i can ask myself how much i really want to know and more importantly, why i need to know that much. I won't have to feel out of place. Not if i know how to ask the people around me interesting and enlightening questions about them to learn what makes them tick so i can adapt better. I won't have to worry anymore about feeling unloved. Not if i can ask myself how i really want to feel valued and know the right way to ask others for the affirmation i need. Asking good questions suddenly appears to be a far more fetching skill than having good answers tucked away for a rainy day.

Naguib Mahfouz aptly hit upon the same discovery i had made when he said, "You can tell a man is clever by his answers. You can tell a man is wise by his questions."

Indeed. I wonder if Mr.Mahfouz stumbled upon it after his nerves were shot by over-zealous children as well.

Anyway, so these days i've stopped scrambling to find all the answers in life to pass on to my children, or for myself for that matter. I've quit trying to teach them all i know. Instead, i ignore them if they ask bad questions and ask them specific open ended questions in reply to their good ones. After all, my best lessons in university were taught by teachers who asked the better questions. I think now that maybe both my children and i are better off developing self awareness of our own needs and requirements, which can only come from being able to honestly ask oneself and the world, tough yet meaningful questions.

I did have some resistance when i first unleashed my Socratic method on them, but they seem to have caught on quite well. I think they may even come and thank me much later in life. Maybe even sooner than later because i do now recall overhearing my second daughter stopping herself in mid-question just the other day to say, "never mind, i won't ask bad questions." That seemed pretty self aware to me. And yes, i don't get so irked anymore. Mission accomplished.

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