Questions Deserve Answers

Kids are curious. Most adults aren’t. How does that happen? Most kids stop being curious because the adults around them weren’t curious. The trait wasn’t encouraged…so it disappeared.

As a kid, the future outdoorsman Steven Rinella was curious. But instead of stifling or shutting down that curiosity (even if it was occasionally annoying) his parents facilitated it, pushed him to follow through on it. As he writes in his wonderful book Outdoor Kids in an Inside World (which you can get at The Painted Porch):

I was taught that questions deserved answers. At times, questions, demanded answers. If I wondered about a particular bird, I was tasked with finding it in one of the guidebooks that were kept on a shelf above the piano…Trees weren’t just trees. They had names and attributes.”

We have to do this with our kids and not stop…whatever their age. Remember what Sandra Day O’Connor said? “If you’re not curious, you’re not smart.” Curiosity leads to answers, leads to discovery, which leads to being a smart and capable person in the world. When our kids express an interest, when they have a question, we have to fan that spark. We have to teach them that they deserve–no, they *must demand–*an answer. Things have names and attributes and an interesting and educated life is about finding out what they are.

Don’t be the end of their curiosity. Be the influence that made it a lifelong habit.

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