“Why do I see rain clouds but it’s not raining?” Andrew asks. “Why?” Who would ever have thought that three little letters could become a painful ringing in my ear? Wait, that may be too harsh. I could liken them to nails on a chalkboard, but that never bothered me and we have whiteboards now. Honestly, it’s the anticipation of that third of fourth “Why?” (after I feel I have done a really good job of explaining), that quickens my heartbeat. This is when I resort to silence and the occasional topic change or a (slightly) exasperated, “I don’t know.”
Two of my favorite go to answers were “Because it was born that way” and “Because it was made that way.” Those worked for quite a long time. He had no comeback. Well, he now asks, “Why were the born/made that way?” I do have to admit, though, he was some very interesting questions. Most recently he has been focused on the size of animals. “Why are crocodiles so big? Why are ducks bigger than chickens?”
Then of course, there are the whys that come after a direction has been given. I tried for a very long to avoid the “because I sad so” response. I thought I was so savvy with the “because I gave you a direction” response. It was direct, didn’t sound too rude, or authoritative. Well, it has now begun to squeak out. If you’ve been there, you know.
During the course of questioning, I put on my patience hat. This is obviously a sign of his intelligence. I am so lucky to have an inquisitive child who wants to learn more about the world around him. This track is on auto rewind in my head.
Ask yourself, “Where would we be without the word why?” What if Sir Isaac Newton had never asked, ‘Why did that apple fall from the tree?’ Or Elizabeth Cady Stanton hadn’t ever asked, ‘Why can’t women vote?’ Or if Steve Jobs had not asked, ‘Why do I need a separate cell phone, video camera, music player and computer?’
Whys, what ifs, and how comes have shaped our history. I’m sure not a day goes by without you asking yourself “why” at least once. It can’t be helped. It’s part of us. So, I will continue my duties of expert question-answerer and when all else fails, I think I’m going to add a new response…”Go ask your father!”