Why Don’t You Know?

By now, you’ve almost certainly lost count of how many questions you’ve been asked by your kids. From the moment they can talk, that’s what fatherhood is—answering questions. Some you can’t wait for them to ask, some you hope they’ll never ask (or ask their mom), some so absurdly, brilliantly child-like you never could have guessed they were coming in a million years. 

Samuel Edison, the father of Thomas Edison, once remarked of his son—who few thought was a genius as a child—that Thomas was “forever asking me questions and when I would tell him I didn’t know, he would say, “Why don’t you know?” 

Out of the mouths of babes. What a perfect indictment expressed so innocently. Your kid is 5. Or 13. Or 30. But you’re much older. It makes sense that they don’t know things. But you? You don’t have an excuse! Too many of us let our curiosity atrophy as we get older—we close our minds the minute we close our last textbooks. Kids are a great reminder that our learning should never cease, that we should never be satisfied not knowing the answers to things—or at the very least knowing where to find the answers. 

If we want our kids to have an “everything is figureoutable” mentality, we’re going to have to model it ourselves. We have to show them that we’re curious, that our education is still ongoing, that we’re constantly questioning and discovering and exploring too.

Why don’t you know? There’s no good answer. So keep learning. Keep thinking. Ask yourself that question. If you want to raise a “why child” you’re going to need to be a “why adult.”

P.S. This was originally sent on April 15, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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