I ask our eleven-year-old son Ammon, “What’s the most important thing for a parent to do for his kids?” He responds: “That’s a hard question because there a lot of things you have to do and they are all important.”
“But what’s the one thing you most want right now?”
“Well,” he says, “you could buy me more Legos. But wait. That’s not the most important thing, it’s just the first thing that came to mind. The most important thing for me right now is just to…well, I don’t know. I can’t think of anything.”
“Really?” I ask, “there is nothing you really want from me right now? I won’t stop asking you this until you come up with something. Seriously, what one thing can I do that you really want from me right now?”
Long silence. Ammon stares at the ceiling.
We’ve done this before. He’ll think of something.
He looks perplexed. He is thinking, thinking…
He’s an eleven-year-old boy, after all. He’s thinking…
He reads my computer screen. He smiles in an embarrassed sort of way. “You’re writing about me?” he asks, incredulous.
He puts his head in his hand like The Thinker.
“Well, I’d like some ice cream.”
Now that’s the thing.
Ice cream and Legos.
All that thinking. But it was worth it. Now I know the thing.
It isn’t always the same answer: ice cream.
But whatever the thing is this week, I’m glad to know it.