Why


This is the thing everyone knows that toddlers do. They ask “Why?”

It’s one of the things that cartoons and sitcoms love to show little kids doing that is actually a real thing that happens. Little kids love to ask “Why?” Joshua started doing it a few months back. I don’t think he had any idea what he was asking when he started, and frankly I’m not entirely sure he does now either. But he does know that it is a question that gets a response.

Though, I think that’s maybe too simple an explanation, because it implies there are questions that he asks that are ignored, which isn’t the case. It might be that each time he asks, he tends to get a different answer, despite the fact that the question is always the same. Whatever the reason, he keeps asking away.

Now, in a cartoon or sitcom, the child will ask this until the parent is driven mad. They’ll blow up and stop answering and theĀ mischievousĀ child grins because of course this is what they were after all along. But not in our house.

In this house, Joshua gets an answer every time, no matter what. That’s our job. His is to ask. Ours is to answer. What does it say to the little man if his first and most trusted source of information is unwilling to engage? Do I want to teach him, however subconsciously, that there is a limit to his curiosity and, by extension, maybe even his ambitions? No, I’d rather teach him that if he wants information we are here to explore with him.

It’s true that sometimes I get dead-ended, though:

“What happened?”

“He fell.”

“Why?”

“He tripped.”

“Why?”

“He probably wasn’t looking where he was going.”

“He’s hurt?”

“Yeah. Probably.”

“Why?”

“He fell.”

“Why?”

“Gravity.”

“Why?”

“Umm. I think it has to do with the rotation of the Earth, maybe? And magnetic fields? Basically it pulls everyone to the ground.”

“Why?”

That’s when “Because Science” is about the best I can come up with. Liberal arts degree! *jazzhands*

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  1. #1 by Vic on February 1, 2013 - 12:05 PM

    Actually I think your penultimate answer after “Because Science” should be “Because Jazzhands!!”. Noodle on that one, youngling.

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