Last night, my 12-year-old son and I were spending some quiet time together before bed. I feel lucky in that we both were sort of in a contemplative mood, and we began asking each other questions. Things like:
- “Name two things you are proud of about yourself.”
- “What two places would you like to visit, where you have never been?”
- “Your favorite two friends and why?”
- “What three living people would you like to meet?”
- “What three historical figures would you like to meet?”
I hasten to point out that this is not a normal occurrence in our house. We don’t sit around talking philosophy all the time — we’re just as likely to be found watching the latest episode of Fringe or checking out Ellen.
But, last night, everything sort of lined up and we were on a roll. In the moment, I remember getting shivers. I knew this would be a moment I would look back on. As a parent, it was awesome.
Then, as bed time was drawing near, we were sort of winding down. Then my son asked me this question:
- “Say you were on Oprah. What two questions would you like her to ask you, and how would you answer them?”
I opened my mouth to answer. Closed it. Opened it again. Closed it. Stayed thinking for a while.
I realized I did not know the answer to that. It’s an excellent question. In essence, my son was asking me, “What two things do you want to tell people?”
What a wonderful, expansive, meaningful question. Even the choices we make about how to approach it hold meaning. Do I want to tell you about my philosophy of life (if I have one)? The big lesson I have learned? Do I want to tell a story about something I love? Do I want to share knowledge?
I just didn’t know. Today, the morning after, I am still unsure. But now I have an excellent tool for self-reflection. What are my “Oprah answers?”
What are yours?