Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The Meaning of Meaningless Conversations
"Does Ms. B still need a new pencil sharpener?" I asked Jake as we walked into school.
"No, maybe. We have two pencil sharpeners in the room," he answered. "There's one that plugs in and then there's the, you know, school one."
"I was just wondering if anybody had brought in a new pencil sharpener because I read on Ms. B's website she'd like a new one."
"Well the one is pretty good and then the other one, like with a, um, what's that thing?"
"Crank?" I offer.
"Yeah, crank, well it's good if you want to sharpen colored pencils but not good for regular pencils."
"Oh so you use the electric one for regular pencils and use the crank one, the school's, for colored pencils. Did your pencil bag come with a sharpener this year?"
"Yeah and sometimes I just use that one but not for colored pencils, just regular ones."
"Well that's handy to have one at your desk in case the line is long at the pencil sharpener."
Meaningless conversation filled with meaning. Here's my theory on conversations with kids: keep 'em talking. If Jake wants to talk about pencil sharpeners today maybe he will want to talk about peer pressure tomorrow. I figure if he is comfortable talking and he knows I'm listening then I'll hear more and miss less.
Maybe I'm a little sensitive about conversations with my kids. Maybe it's because I have one child for whom conversation flows and another child for whom conversation drips. I don't take words lightly.
So if Jake wants to tell me scene by scene the latest episode of Star Wars The Clone Wars I'll listen. Even when there seems to be no point at all, there is.