As a parent, there is no word you hear more. Why? Why not? Why can’t I? Why do I have to? Why does it work like that? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
It’s annoying to be sure, but you must be sure to never discourage this.
As we said before, so much of what we take for granted as parents, and as people, is arbitrary and poorly supported. Perhaps that’s because at a young age our own impulse to question and explore was suppressed. We were not taught, as we’ve said about Steve Jobs, to see that most of the rules and limitations of the world have no real basis in logic, or reason, or even morality.
When we asked ‘why?’, we were told ‘because’. Full stop. We were not encouraged to challenge assumptions, to question the status quo, to learn why things are the way they are.
Let’s not continue this tradition. Let’s turn over a new leaf with this generation—the one we are in charge of raising.
Society improves when we ask questions. Wrongs are righted only when subjected to scrutiny—what is not challenged remains comfortably ensconced in orthodoxy masquerading as tradition. And this is true even of our own habits and practices. If we can’t provide a meaningful answer to our children’s “whys”…that says something!
More importantly, if we nip this fruitful, brave habit in the bud, where will that leave the future? We want our kids to make the world a better place. We want them to improve things. That can’t happen if they are complacent, if they are credulous, if they don’t think they are empowered to subject their reality to interrogation and demand answers accordingly.
‘Why?’ is a great question. Help them see that.
And then help them answer it…