Corrie writes about a particular train trip she took with her father, who was a watchmaker:
Oftentimes I would use the trip home to bring up things that were troubling me, since anything I asked at home was promptly answered by the aunts. Once-- I must have been ten or eleven-- I asked Father about a poem we had read at school the winter before. One line had described "a young man whose face was not shadowed by sexsin." I had been far too shy to ask the teacher what it meant, and Mama had blushed scarlet when I consulted her. In those days just after the turn of the century sex was never discussed, even at home.
So the line had stuck in my head. "Sex," I was pretty sure, meant whether you were a boy or a girl, and "sin" made Tante Jans very angry, but what the two meant together I could not imagine. And so, seated next to Father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, "Father, what is sexsin?"
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
"Will you carry it off the train, Corrie? he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
"It's too heavy," I said.
"Yes," he said. "And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you."
And I was satisfied. More than satisfied-- wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions-- for now I was content to leave them in my father's keeping.
What a wise father Casper ten Boom was! I am going to remember this when my kids ask things that are too heavy for them.
I love the relationship he and Corrie had. Corrie trusted her father with her questions, and she was content with his response. He protected her and she felt secure in that. This makes me so grateful for the relationships we have built with each of our kids. I know they trust us with their questions, too.
And-- did you notice this line?- "He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question". This was a good encouragement for me. I need to do more of this: to turn from what I am doing and give my child(ren) my full attention when they are speaking to me. To turn away from the sink full of dishes, to wipe my hands and kneel down and really listen. To close the laptop, to set aside whatever project I might be working on, and to turn to my inquiring child, to show them that they are valued and heard. So often I just toss a response over my shoulder as I am doing something else. But I am learning this: to take time to give them my full attention.