Writing 101, Day 12: (Virtual) Dark Clouds on the Horizon

Assignment: Today, write a post with roots in a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.

I read the assignment and it seemed as if my mind immediately emptied itself of the memories of every conversation I ever heard or in which I had engaged. In desperation, I turned on the television to a news program during which it is the norm for the host to interview guests, usually persons considered experts on an issue making headlines.  Thankfully, she did not disappoint me. A snippet of the interview I heard included the question, “What do you make of this?”

“What do you make of this?” Typically, in ordinary life, this question, or some variation of it, usually is posed to a peer. For example, in an attempt to decipher a social cue in the minefield that interactions can be in high school, a teenager may ask a friend, “What do you think it means, that he/she said or did X or Y?” Similarly an adult may also ask the question of a friend or colleague to gain clarity about a situation that is confusing or anxiety provoking.

I recognize, however, that the purpose of this question can differ based on the context in which it is asked.  For example, lawyers in a courtroom, confident that they know the answer may ask the question, not for clarity, but to expose or discredit a witness. After all, reportedly, they are taught early in their training to never ask a witness a question, to which they do not know the answer.

I am thinking, however, that this instruction, can be valuable also to those who have conversations with children. The story is told of a teacher who asked a young girl, “What are you drawing?” The child replied, “God.” The teacher responded, “No one knows what God looks like.” The child answered, “They will when I am finished.”

I smile every I hear the story, for many reasons. One reason is that often children have a different view of the world and spending time with a child can be an adventure and a learning experience.  “What do you make of this?”

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