Thursday, February 14, 2013

The wrong question

I'm a teacher. And it is sometimes a teacher's destiny to ask a question and hear crickets chirp. The question is super clear. Super simple. Eloquently worded. And I've taught the subject matter so well that I am aghast at the blank expressions peering back at me.

On Sunday, my four year old gave me a tiny insight into this problem, from the other perspective.  We were driving to Scarborough to celebrate Chinese New Year with my brother and his family and my mother and her partner. We'd been in the car for over a half hour. 

Cole asked, "Mommy, where do we live?"


"But where do we LIVE?"

"Ontario?" I tried, "Canada?"

"Mommy!!! But TRULY where do we LIVE?!"

"Burlington!" I tried with more convinction, then I tentatively ventured, "North America? The Earth? Honey, I'm not sure what you want me to say."

"Mommy!" Cole exclaimed exasperated at my stupidity, "REALLY, where do we live?"

"Do you want a street name? Do you want the address? Because we live in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, in North America on the planet Earth. I'm not sure what else I can tell you!"

Cole sighed deeply, "The radio person told us where we LIVE on the other day... when he said it was a snow day. He said where we live!" (The accusatory tone begged the question - Why does the radio announcer know where we live and YOU DON'T?!)

"The radio person?...."

"Yes, Mommy. He said where we live and the town was closed!"

"OH!!!! HALTON! WE LIVE IN HALTON!!!" I was triumphant, finally guessing the answer that he was seeking to the simplest question in the world.

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