If you have young children in your life, odds are good you have recently sat in a movie theatre strewn with popcorn, listening to a snowman sing:
See, that will all make sense when I am older,
So there’s no need to be terrified or tense.
I’ll just dream about a time
When I’m in my aged prime
‘Cause when you’re older
Absolutely everything makes sense!
I roared with laughter, spilling the popcorn bucket, and nearly every adult in the theatre did the same.
Because what could be further from the truth?
. . .
Last night, our 5 year-old (bedecked in Olaf pajamas and clutching a stuffed snowman to his chest) interrupted his own rendition of the song to ask me quite seriously: Is it true? Does it all make sense when you are older?
I laughed out loud again.
No, I told him. When I was a kid, I used to think so. I thought adults had it all figured out. I thought I would know a lot more by now. Turns out I have a lot more questions as a grown-up.
It doesn’t all make sense when you are older.
He and his brothers looked at me with curious intent. I have no memory of the adults in my life telling me anything remotely similar when I was small.
But I could see their intrigue, even their delight in the idea that the grown-ups don’t know everything.
In this month’s column for Catholic News Service, I’m asking the same question. What happens if we admit our own unknowing? Is this parental stumbling or surprising wisdom?
I once read an interview with a pastor who said that the most important thing a parent can say to a child is often, “I don’t know.”
His words rattled me as a parent. Wasn’t my job to fill my children with knowledge? Wasn’t my role to pass down truth? Didn’t my authority as an adult depend on having answers?
But I decided to try out his advice.
Tune in the 2nd Tuesday of each month – including next week, January 14th – to Morning Air on Relevant Radio to hear more about my column.