Malala Yousafzai, human rights and education activist, said, “Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” When Malala was 17 years old, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel peace prize.
Words have power. So do questions.
Steffane Wells is a teacher. One day, she asked her daughter, Lucy, the following questions that have been circulating in various forms on Facebook since 2015. Her daughter delivered blunt, razor-sharp answers.
How would a child you love respond to these questions?
- What is something mom always says to you? NO!
- What makes mom happy? Childrens leaving you alone
- What makes mom sad? When kids don’t leave you alone, but I just want to play on the computer!
- How does your mom make you laugh? Make funny faces
- What was your mom like as a child? The same as me
- How old is your mom? 32
- How tall is your mom? You are super big, you’re big.
- What is her favorite thing to do? Sleeping
- What does your mom do when you’re not around? You go to sleep.
- If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Singing, dancing, um – a rockstar!
- What is your mom really good at? You are really good at cartwheels a long time ago. You were really good. You are also really good at exercising. That’s all I know. Please mommy, please mommy, please can I play on the computer?
- What is your mom not very good at? You’re not very good at yelling, working (hahahaha!). You’re not very good at video games.
- What does your mom do for a job? You do for a job you work at Southwood Middle School. Is that right?
- What is your mom’s favorite food? Salad. You love salad!
- What makes you proud of your mom? Mostly what makes you proud of me is being nice to me.
- If your mom were a character, who would she be? You would be Sofia. No, you would be, no, ummm, Ariel. No, you would be Sofia … Sofia … NO! You would be Belle, Momma.
- What do you and your mom do together? Watch movies. We do games. We go outside and play.
- How are you and your mom the same? Because we both have blond hair with pink and purple and a little bit of brown in our hair. We both like purple. Right? I like purple. You like purple.
- How are you and your mom different? Um, you like just purple and I like a lot of colors. You work a lot and I play a lot.
- How do you know your mom loves you? It’s because I was adorable when I was a baby. Can I please play on the computer?
- What does your mom like most about your dad? He’s handsome.
- Where is your mom’s favorite place to go? Taco Bell? I don’t know where you like to go. Where do you like to go?
- How old was your Mom when you were born? You were 40 … no, you were, uh … how old are you? You were 31. You were 31. Were you? How old were you? I think you were … does 50 go after 30?
I asked Steffane, “How old is your daughter?”
“Lucy is 5 1/2. (Don’t forget the half. She is very particular about that 1/2),” proudly laughed Steffane. “She is the most honest child I have ever met. She’ll answer anything. She’ s a lot like me when I was young.”
Jesus once said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these” (Mark 10: 14). I believe children and their innocent, refreshingly perceptive view of the world reveals ways we can experience a little slice of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
If you would like to learn more about your child’s unique point of view, start a conversation using some (or all!) of the questions listed above. You can replace the word “mom” with “dad” or your name – or someone else’s name.
These questions are particularly memorable as:
- a Mother’s or Father’s day gift.
- a birthday present for a special adult.
- a keepsake.
- a reflection about someone who passed away from a child’s point of view.
Read powerful storytelling experiences from urban junior high students in Voices in the City School.
Kids are talking. Are you listening? Start a conversation with a child or teen with more tips from Hear the Voices of Our Youth.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” Remember How to Play and Have Fun with these suggestions.