Friday, October 29, 2010
Certainly the preponderance of questions from little ones can be wearying for even the most patient grown-up. But what is it about little kids that is so inquisitive? Is it merely that they are so young and don't know as much as we, the enlightened adults, do? Have they simply not asked the right number of questions which gets them to a point when they don't ask "why" anymore? Or, rather, is it because as they get older, much of the questioning becomes internal and they answer the "why" themselves?
If we think about it, aren't grownups just as inquisitive as little kids? See, I don't think the questions stop as you grow up and get smarter. I don't think there's a limit to the questions. The questions change, certainly. Theoretically, after the kid learns about food and digestion and feeding the cells, he won't ask why we need food to eat.
Questions never end. In fact, the process of questioning is so important that people say there's something wrong if someone doesn't ask questions, that we're not using our intellect. I think they're right. If we don't ask questions about our experience, how can we possibly form any sound ideas about anything?
Ah, but there's the rub. With questioning comes the responsibility of judgment. If I question and understand, and still refuse to judge, I am lying to myself and deliberately ignoring my duty as a know-er. When children ask questions--and when those questions are answered--we are forming their conscience from a young age. We are teaching them to reason, to think, to wonder, and to understand.
Sometimes, their questions can make us uncomfortable. Oftentimes, their questions give us pause and we must reconsider our own understanding or worldview. But this is good for us too. Grownups can get lazy in their questioning process. [I know--I'm quite lazy myself.] I sometimes ignore certain questions simmering in the back of my mind because I'm afraid of what the answer might be. Kids aren't afraid of questions. They can ask questions all day, about anything, and remain happy as a clam, processing things right down to the moment they fall asleep, letting their dreams continue their journey of exploration. Kids just want to know. Everything. They want to know what's true, what has happened, what will happen, and what we are to do now.
Shouldn't we all want to know those things? Shouldn't we want to know everything about everything?