But I finally stopped asking my very young students if they had any questions because they invariably took the broadest interpretation, asking me things like "How old are you?" followed by "How many children do you have?" then "How old are your children " and "What are their names?" Because with children one question generally leads to another.
I did occasionally get a more unique question such as, "Do you ever get tired of talking?" or "How tall is the tallest person in the world?"
I believe the most memorable question I've ever been asked ( by a very intelligent 6-year-old) was, "If they took all the blood out of your veins would your veins be clear?"
Like I said, I no longer ask my younger students if they have any questions.
But sometimes they ask me anyway, as one did the a couple weeks ago:
"When do you eat?" my student asked me.
Now I must admit, that was actually a good question. Because, after all, I'm a traveling in-home piano teacher, so I'm generally on the go from mid-afternoon sometimes until 9:00pm or later.
"Oh, I eat along the way," I answered truthfully enough.
"What do you eat?"
At this point I almost lied, not the least reason being that the child''s mother was right there listening to our conversation.
But then it's always been my belief that children's questions are a reflection of their trust in adults and therefore should be answered truthfully.
"Combos and Diet Coke," I admitted. "In my car between lessons. But you shouldn't eat that stuff," I quickly added, shooting the mother an apologetic look.
"What are Combos?"
I described the little cheese-filled pretzel tubes, then my student turned to their mother and asked, "Mom, have I ever had Combos?"
It turned out that the child hadn't. Neither had the mother. I wasn't surprised. They're a family of healthy eaters with a healthy lifestyle.
So despite my professed prediliction for truth-telling, I now felt guilty that I, as a teacher and role model, might have given this child a bad example and introduced them to something that their mother might not have wanted them introduced to. But on the other hand, I rationalized, this might be a teachable moment for the mother to talk to her child about healthy eating and the fact that even piano teachers aren't perfect.
Of course, the most likely outcome was that I over-think everything and that neither my student nor their mother would give another thought to what I eat.
The following week my student greeted me with another question.
"Guess what?" the child asked.
"What?" I asked.
"I had Combos!"
I quickly changed the subject back to the piano lesson.