My Morning of Mad Question Asking

In Raising Free People, Akilah S. Richards offers up a Biggie-inspired concept: mad question asking. Here’s how she defines it:

“I define mad question-askin’ (MQAs, if you’re feelin’ extra fly) as a process of questioning the intention behind your concerns, instead of questioning to try to resolve your concern.”

This MQA (feeling hella fly this morning) practice is blowing up my world.

The questions I’m asking are scary.

They initially appear to me as insidious wraiths, biding their time in the blocked-off parts of my mind. I hear their wicked laughter and go to them the way idiotic characters in horror movies go to shadowy places in the middle of the night.

But then I get to the sounds and discover something.

They are not insidious wraiths biding their time.

They are children playing hide and seek.

These questions want to play. They want to see me laugh. They want to be discovered and gathered into my arms and tickled and held and then let go so we can find the others. They want us to reconcile and be whole.

No, the disturbing noise they make in the middle of the night is not wicked laughter.

It’s the sound of God.

I just finished reading Will Sith’s memoir, Will, and I’m in the middle of reading How Children Learn by John Holt and Evidence that Self-Directed Education Works by Peter Gray.

These books are loud. The children inside of me are giggling, and I can pretend I don’t hear them at my own peril.

Here are some of the questions I’m asking myself right now:

  1. Do I actually want to parent my kids, or do I just want to be their parent?
  2. Do I spend more energy trying to direct my kids’ learning, personalities, and thoughts than I do helping them in the ways they ask for help?
  3. Do I say “no” more often than I say “yes” to doing things that are their ideas?
  4. Am I surprised when my kids resist my ideas (even though I resist theirs)?
  5. Do I expect my kids to always do what I want to do, even when what I want to do is directly opposed to their desires?
  6. Why am I offended by the thought that my kids may not need as much of my help as I think they do?
  7. Why am I afraid that my kids won’t learn to read if I don’t force them to read?
  8. Do I think my kids can make good choices on their own?
  9. Do I expect my children to respond to me like human beings or like pets?
  10. How might it make me and my children feel if I prioritize showing equity and fairness in my interactions with them over receiving respect and obedience from them?
  11. What is beneath the fear of changing my mind in response to my kids’ desires?
  12. Where did I get the idea that letting children have ownership over their lives is the same as spoiling them?
  13. But for real, for real… what IS my role here? What the hell is my role?
  14. Why do I need to have a definition?
  15. Can I have a definition of my “role” that changes with the day and kid?
  16. Why am I so afraid of change and impermanence?
  17. How has change helped me?
  18. How have I changed?
  19. How did I feel when people imposed their will on me without considering my perspective?
  20. What control am I willing to let go of for today?

See what I mean, y’all? Scary.

Any of these questions resonate? Any questions on your mind that you want to share? Tell me in the comments. I’d love to hear what the kids in your brain are up to.

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