“Why? Because I’m Curious!”
Have you ever sat and wondered why something is the way it is? Why it works the way it does? In adulthood we have learned the answer to lots of these questions upon which we ponder however sometimes we have lost the curiosity and no longer ask “why?”. Upon reflection of myself, I know that at a stage in my life, I stopped questioning such things and just accepted things as the way they were. After realising this about myself, I have worked on regaining my natural curiosity. I still believe I have lots of unanswered questions, but I plan to research the answers whenever I ask myself “why? How?”. There are many questions I have in one category for example “How can we better understand children?”.
This brings me to one of my all time favourite questions, one which I believe we should embrace.
“Why do children ask why all of the time?”
The answer is quite simple, they are curious, they want knowledge that will improve their understanding of the world around them. Knowledge that will help them to develop, knowledge that perhaps one day shape the person they become and the careers they decide to embark on, the life that they decide to lead.
It is more than evident that this can be frustrating and mentally tiring at times for parents and those that look after and care for children, but it is a very important life skill for them to learn and should be more than just a phase in which they go through. I believe that curiosity should last a life time.
Being honest with ourselves, how many times have we answered a why question with “I don’t know” or even got so frustrated that we ask a child to stop asking why? The more we say this, the more this can lead to the dulling of someone’s curiosity. It can lead to them no longer feeling as though they can question the world. An important life skill. Please believe me when I say, I know how taxing the questions can become. I do have three children of my own which I have gone through this with. My youngest child used to go one step further with his why questions, believe me when I say “this was tough”.
“Mum, why do I have to wear my coat?”
“Because it’s cold poppet”
“How do you know?”
“Mum, why does that sign say ….”
“How do you know?”
“Why do plants need water?”
“How do you know?”
For every single why question that he asked (over which seemed like years and years), he felt the need to check how I knew and whether that was a valuable source or not. This then made up his decision on whether he should accept the answer I had given him or push for more information. Although this was at times hard, trying to remember where you have learned something is not always as easy as you would imagine, I am glad that he felt the need to do this. How many of us accept what we are told or what we read without checking for factual accuracy? How many of us no longer ask why? Why do we do that? It is so important that we answer these questions of why, show our children that their curiosity matters to us. We should not tell them to stop.
Never should we disregard their questions. What if you don’t know the answer? Well then make a plan together to find the answer. We have a wealth of resources on our bookshelves, in television programmes, at our fingertips, on our phones and our laptops. So readily is the information which we seek available. Instead of saying “I don’t know” Admit that you are unsure but suggest that you find out together. This is not only a good way of showing your child that you value their questions, their need for information but it can also be quality time for you both to share. Quality time in which you will both be learning something new. My children know that I don’t know everything. I wouldn’t like for them to believe that. Sometimes they enjoy teaching me in the same way which I teach them.
Try asking yourself why more often, try asking your children why more often. Ask them why they do things the way they do.
“Why have you built the Lego that way?”
“Why are you rolling on the floor?”
“Why does your monkey painting have 6 legs?”
There are answers to all of these questions and asking your child “why?” will help you to ultimately know and understand them all the more!