The former wife of a friend of mine once said she felt that talking to me was like being interviewed. She said talking to her husband was like being interrogated. I guess it is no wonder their marriage did not work out. Anyway, I am pretty sure she did not mean the comment about me as a compliment. I don’t care.
While I won’t find myself in the Small Talk Hall of Fame (where do you think such a place would exist – hmmm), I am good at asking questions. This skill has served me well over the course of my life. People generally love to talk about themselves. It is often their favorite subject. When I was on the dating scene, I spent many a first date asking questions and listening. Many girls appreciated it even if she or I did not want a second.
Asking questions is essentially what I do for a living. Or at least it’s one of my favorite parts of my job. I enjoy engaging the students in discussion. Often the discussion will stem from a piece of literature and then get into something on a deeper more personal level. For example, in Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallfower, there are a number of big issues. However, it ultimately comes down to accepting one’s self and others. This is a ripe area for questioning.
This past weekend my wife and I have been preparing for the holiday of Passover. Anyone who celebrates the holiday can vouch for the fact that it is a labor intensive holiday (not to mention expensive). It involves cleaning, changing dishes, and a lot of cooking. However, ultimately, the holiday is about the retelling of the Jews exodus from Egypt.
This retelling of the story happens the first two nights of the holiday (unless you live in Israel where it takes place only on the first night) at what is called a Seder. Seder can be translated into order. There is an exact order how the night goes between the retelling and the food that is to be eaten as part of the tale. We Jews are big on rules and instructions.
Anyway, some things are done at the Seder simply to inspire questions from the children. For example, the person leading the Seder (customs vary) has a pillow on his chair, so he can recline. A natural question a child may have is, “Why do you have a pillow on your chair?” The child is told that we are no longer slaves but free men and women. In fact, this is how royalty used to eat.
The Seder is a chance for a child to be engaged. Not only can a child ask away, it is encouraged and enlivens a Seder.
So, as my family and I sit down to our Seder, I look forward to hearing questions from BR and SJ. Yes, part of the reason is so that I know the private school tuition is going somewhere, but also it will give us a chance to talk, consider, and learn together.
To those who celebrate, Chag Sameach. To those who are looking forward to the holiday of Easter, Happy Holiday.
Any more questions?