Most of my conversations with my nephews would be fictitious - would revolve around lives of imagined characters. But today, I was led to have small talk with them. I started off by asking their performance in and attitude towards school, then I realized they shouldn't have the impression that they are how they do in school so I went on by asking how they feel and think about certain things and who their bestfriends are. My nephew talked about how nice it would be to be able to fly - and I said that he should go ziplining or bungee jumping or even skydiving.
I shared my desire to go on a hot air balloon. Our sharing of dreams went on and on. I also sensed some frustration in between their complaints, things that I am not in control of. I figured out it was their hearts they were sharing with me so I tried to listen well. As an aunt, it is tempting to just tell them what is right and wrong - but at that time, I just saw them as children. Perhaps it helps to see them that way sometimes. I am not their mother and they asked me questions I did not know how to answer - so I said, that's okay, let us pray for that desire of yours. Then they went on to ask even more questions - still, most of which I couldn't answer but I sensed that it was fine with them. I figured, they didn't really need answers but someone who would help them form and articulate the questions.
Out of nowhere, one of them asked, "I want to ask you something." And I swallowed hard.
He went on - "Do you know why a 'dodo' is called a 'dodo'?"
What in the world is that? An animal, I knew it. Then my nephew went on to tell me about dodos. I was relieved he was not asking me controversial things.
But a tiny voice inside me said that this question meant the world to him so I listened - and admitted that I don't know why.
I realized children have pure hearts that are fragile and when they share them with you, you can't help but also share yours - so I also shared my childhood moments with them - and to make them feel normal, I also shared some of my frustrations.
At that moment, I just asked questions, listened, rubbed their backs and hugged them. I felt warmth in my heart, having realized that my nephews and I are on the same boat about life's journey - I, too, have things in my heart I want to share with people, questions I want to ask and dreams I want to share.
People may not always know the answer or may not even know what I am talking about - but a listening heart, a rub on the back and a hug will be more than enough.