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Turning an Awkward Moment Into a Teachable One

surprised face - teachable moment

There we are. Sorting the laundry. My 6 year old son and me. In front of the washing machine, I’m bending down, one arm full of lights, another full of darks, as my son looks cheerfully up at me and says, “Mom?”

“Did you take that pill to have me?”

That pill? What pill is my 6 year old asking about? What has he heard? I took that deep breath. You know, that d-e-e-p breath that we all have learned to (subconsciously) take. And I said (to myself), this is BIG. Big I tell you. Take another deep breath.

I took another deep breath, and journeyed . . . breeaathe . . . from an awk-ward moment into a teachable one.

Am I really going to have this (sex?!) talk before the Santa talk with my six year old son?

Then I ran right into that teachable moment. That’s what we gotta do, we parents. We gotta run right in to their open, little, inquisitive minds and in to their thirsty little souls. Right when that door opens. Inevitably, our precious little kids will catch us – just when we least expect it – with those big, embarrassing, sensitive questions that arrive before we have prepared our parenting script.

When you see these teachable moments and that door open to your child’s inquisitive mind, run right in….as awkward or ill-prepared as you may feel. When our children ask, they are ready to listen. They are looking to us as their saviors, their leaders, their confidantes; they are giving us their trust as we are gaining their credibility.

Go there when they want to know. Answer their questions.

Now, I’m not telling you to give them the whole kit and caboodle almost R rating. But satisfy their inquiring minds. They’re counting on you. And guess what? You probably won’t need to give them as much information as you might think. Give them just enough to satisfy their burning question. Then read their non-verbal cues. They’ll tell you when they’ve had enough. And they’ll go on their way . . . knowing they can trust that when they ask, you’ll give them the truth, and you’ll give them the answers.

In case you’re wondering how I answered my son, in front of the washer that day . . . I told him that there wasn’t really a pill that I took to have him, but if there were, I certainly would have — because the day I had him was one of the happiest of my life. Then I asked him if he (eeks?!) had any more questions. “Nope, that’s it.” Whew, I thought, wiping my brow. And then I wrote a book . . . on the facts of life . . . for him (a few years later) and all boys. Check it out here . . .

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