I began listening to talk radio when I became a stay-at-home mom. It kept me sane to hear adult conversations through long days full of baby noises and toddler talk!
I have continued to enjoy talk radio now that my girls are more grownup. Occasionally, they like to listen too.
Recently, I was listening while driving around accomplishing some errands. Because I was in and out of the car several times, I didn't catch the name of the person sharing his story on the radio, nor did I pay attention to what the radio program was. I would definitely give credit to the person if I had. I think he was very wise.
The speaker shared how he had begun to ask his sons, at bedtime, "how is your heart today? Are you happy, sad, did anything hurt your feelings today or bring you joy?"
I have always had little conversations with the girls before bedtime about their days, but I had never thought to ask, how is your heart. It sounded to me like a very wise and caring question and I decided that I was going to ask my girls how their hearts were that night.
Excited, and armed with this new question, that I was sure would allow me learn more about how the day affected my girls and what lessons, positive or negative, they took from it, I tucked Miss Emma Bean in bed, we prayed together, and I asked...
"How is your heart today honey?"
Miss Bean gave me an odd look, which I was okay with, this was an unexpected and slightly unusual question. I was still hopeful it would open the door to meaningful conversation about her life and how she was coping with what she thought was the good and bad of it.
Miss Bean stumbled a little with her response, saying, "my heart is happy...well, it was a little sad when Dad got mad at me tonight, but then it got happy again...why did you ask me that question?"
I explained to Miss Emma Bean how I had heard about a Dad who asked his kids the same question, and that I thought it was a good question to ask and that I care about her and wanted to ask her too.
I thought I gave a very good explanation and grinned broadly because I was sure she would feel sooo loved and before I could delve further into discussion about what made her happy and how she got in trouble and felt sad, she promptly said, "if you care so much, why haven't you ever asked me about my heart before!?"
I didn't know what to say! I could feel my brow pinching together in frustration as I thought about how to respond. This was not how the conversation was supposed to go! And a pinched brow is bad because the more often my brow pinches together the more likely it is that the creases it creates will be permanent!
And that is bad!!
Do you remember when you were a child and your Mother would tell you that if you kept making a goofy face, that one day your face would stay that way, and it never did stay that way? Well she meant after you turned 40!
With great effort I relaxed my brow and told Miss Emma Bean that it had never occurred to me to ask her about her heart until I heard the man on the radio talk about it and that I did care and always had and...
Here my friends is the point where I may have made a brilliant parental move, or I may have made a huge parental mistake! I suspect only time will tell.
...I said, "when was the last time you, Miss Bean, have ever asked how my heart is!?" I really couldn't believe I said it. I wondered immediately if it was a mistake! Yikes!!
My girl was thoughtful for a moment...
I love it when she's thoughtful! I think she looks lovely when she's thoughtful!
Her response was, "um...never I guess."
Yeeeaaaah! Okay so I didn't say that out loud, but I thought it!
That was the point when Miss Bean and I decided we would make a point of asking each other how our hearts were.
So, maybe the conversation did not go as I hoped it would. Parenting seldom goes the way we think it will! But maybe, it was exactly the conversation we needed to have. Now we both recognize the need to consider those we love and care about their hearts wellbeing.
Mostly, I think it was good we had our little talk. I think. I hope!