I remember asking my mom and dad a million questions as a kid. I guess I was trying, at an early age, to develop the art of asking questions.
While I helped my mom in the kitchen, I asked “Why do you have to chop the onions up so small?” She would answer, “Because the boys don’t like a lot of onions and chopping them smaller will give the flavor without having big chunks of onions in the meatloaf.”
What kind of crop is that?
As I looked out the window of my dad’s truck and saw different crops growing throughout the countryside, I asked “How can you tell the difference between beans and cotton?” He answered “Soy bean plants are usually smaller and the leaves are shiny green. Cotton plants are bigger and the leaves are dull green."
I loved that they both validated my questions by giving me honest, mature answers - even if that led to more questions from me. I felt smart and encouraged when they responded with “That’s a really good question.” or “You ask good questions. That’s the way you learn.”
Where is that going?
I also remember feeling perfectly settled if the answer was a sincere “I don’t know.” I would ask my dad things like, “What’s in the boxcar and where is it going?” With curiosity that equaled mine, he would reply, “Hmmm. I don’t really know…. maybe there’s cotton seed in there and they are taking it to a cattle farm in Kansas. Or maybe there are peanuts in there and they are taking them to the Planter’s processing plant in Pine Bluff.”
I felt a sense of comfort and relief knowing that my dad didn’t have all the answers and it was ok for me not to have the answers to some questions as well.
I love when my kids ask me questions now. I can see the gears in their minds turning, trying to figure out the world around them and how they best function in it.
With many answers at our fingertips today, we can explore and learn together. However, some questions still don’t have answers and that’s ok too. But let’s keep asking and perfecting the art of asking questions....