I certainly wasn’t expecting that my oldest daughter and I would be the ones having “The Talk.” I'm not ready. And that’s what her mother’s for, right?
This night, I walked in the house from a trip to the grocery store. Now nine, my daughter greeted me and asked that I latch the chain on the door. Anxiety and worry are family characteristics, from parents, to grandparents, to myself. Her request instantly triggered my question…“Why?”
“Just do it, Dad,” she said.
“Why?” I asked again.
“Just because. Lock it,” she insisted.
I assured her that I would latch the chain and that it was time for her to get ready for bed.
My wife and I take turns taking our girls to bed. Tonight was my night to make sure my nine-year-old made it to bed on time. Included in that duty usually means a quick “debriefing” of my daughter’s day. But tonight, our discussion led from her room to the front door.
In her room, lying in her bed, my daughter reluctantly shared her concern, but held back. After digging and digging, I finally figured out that she was worried about a break-in. Rather than dismiss her worry, I surprised myself and took her down a different path.
“Do you know how to pray?,” I asked her. This was “The Talk” that we had not yet had, nor was I expecting to come up this night.
I referenced the recent Asiana Airlines crash. Smart as a whip, she knew some of details.
“Two people died…teenagers,” she said.
“Yep,” I told her. “I pray every time I fly.”
“Give everything to God,” I shared. “When I’m in a plane, that’s what I do. It feels so good to hand your worry off to God, and then you can relax. Go ahead. Ask God to take your worry about the chain on the door.”
“You can say the Lord’s Prayer if you aren’t sure what to say,” I told her. “Think about what the words mean.”
“Ok. How does it start again?” she asked.
I told her and she prayed it. Within minutes, she was settled. A few minutes later, she was asleep.
I put the chain on the door, and thought more about our talk. I felt pretty lucky to have been able share in this new way for her to find peace every day.
I know what you’re saying. Sure, there’s “THE” talk, about the birds and bees. I never understood all of the hype about that talk. It’s sex for Pete’s sake.
I’m not a pastor, nor man of the cloth. I’m not preaching. I even use yard work, my children and a hectic work week as reasons why I’m not in a pew on Sunday mornings. I do believe in God. To me, “church” doesn’t have to only be in a church. This night, “church” was held in a little girl’s bedroom.
Fear and angst over a door latch opened up a new conversation…and The Talk.
Jay Hardy is the father of two girls in Holly Springs. He's a former sports photographer and reporter for WRAL-TV. He returns to writing monthly for Go Ask Mom today.