Boys ask a million questions, and they demand straight answers. Be advised, however, that the entire time you are delivering the straight answers, boys are most likely tuning you out and running rabbit trails inside their heads.
I know this because I myself have fallen victim to the random mental detours of boys on several occasions, after delivering what I personally felt was quite an excellent exhibit of fatherly wisdom and/or advice. Boys don’t care. They aren’t listening anymore. They just ask the question then let you ramble on and on while they think about turtles. Or Kit Kat bars. Whatever.
Once Nathan asked me “Dad, was I boring when I was in Mommy’s tummy?”
I said, “You mean were you bored? Are you kidding me?? No way! You had your brother in there – you all were going crazy all the time, doing all kinds of tricks and stuff.”
“WHAT??” he said incredulously. “How were we both in there at the same time?”
At which point I proceeded to explain twins, tummies, and even more astounding information to him, like the fact that some ladies even have like four or five or MORE babies in there. Then I waited for what was sure to be his detailed followup question.
“Dad, why did God make so many Pizza Huts?”
Random detours. You never see ’em coming.
Just last week, Connor was peppering me with questions from the back seat of the car (boys do their best question warfare from the back seat of cars: firing questions at speeds rivaling the starship phasers on the USS Enterprise) when the topic of political advertising came up:
Connor: “Dad, why does Sam Archer have all those signs all over the place with his name on them?”
Me: “Well, Sam Archer wants to be our new county commissioner, so he thinks if he puts his name on signs everywhere, we will remember to vote for him.”
Connor: “Does he get it for free?”
Me (enjoying his interest in the political process, and also my ability to share what I am sure is my expert analysis of political marketing strategies): “Oh no, he has to pay for them. He spends his own money, or money people donate to him to pay for his billboards and stuff.”
Connor: “Why does he want everybody to vote for him?”
At this point, having fielded three straight questions about political topics, I am firmly convinced that a newfound interest has been keenly stirred within the boy, therefore I take a deep breath as I collect my thoughts.
Choosing words carefully, I wax eloquent about the amazing freedom of democracy. About the invaluable privilege of voting. About the unalienable right to pursue happiness – yea, to pursue it to the UTMOST PINNACLE OF THRUSTING ONESELF INTO THE HOTTEST FIRES OF THE RACE FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 5, LIKE OUR BOY SAM ARCHER HAS DONE!!!!
(seriously, it was a good explanation)
This may be a defining moment in the life of my son.
Visions of his future as a law student, a senator, or even a president glisten like a flowing river of possibility as they flutter through my mind. The valedictorian. The activist. The long awaited leader with the vision to solve man’s problems; the tenacity to stand against those who dare tempt him with the lure of greed, riches, or fame; the courage to lead like the great leaders of our nation’s birth!
It all starts here, with the tiny seed of interest planted in the fertile soil of a young heart, primed and ready to grow into a man for the ages. He came to me, seeking knowledge, and I bestowed it upon him. I await his next words…his reaction to discovering that anyone can become a leader. Anyone.
There is silence.
“Hey Dad…did you know I can make toot sounds using only my hands and my knees?”
Sam Archer for District 5, baby! His seat is safe for now.