Mommy, who is that? Why do they do that? I saw someone over there, where are they going? Why do I have to get dressed? Why do I need to sleep? Why can't I climb on the counter? When is Summer going to get here? Can I wear my clothes in the shower?
These, along with many others, are question that I hear daily. I truly love them. I love to hear how they wonder and how they see the world. I adore how they composes their questions, asking without hesitation, without editing thoughts. And I'm amazed by the way they want to test their world and push its limits. In their minds, anything is possible (for now).
Some of the questions are impossible to answer and others that are ridiculous and for safety reasons, require a firm no followed by an explanation. But... am I supposed to answer all their questions? Are they even looking for answers? I do my best to breakdown the vast world for their 3 and 5 year old minds, but I wonder if that's the best thing. Or, would it be better to encourage them discover the answers on their own?
My questions took me to a book by Warren Berger, A More Beautiful Question and a podcast hosted by Shane Parrish called The Knowledge Project where Warren Berger was interview in an episode called Improve Your Life by Improving Your Questions. Berger along with many other inquiry driven educators (Tony Wagner, Kath Murdoch, Trever McKenzie) explain how questions are essential for understanding and that in world driven for answers, being able to boldly and inquisitively wonder is invaluable. Through my reading and listening I have a few important takeaways:
- Questions are rooted in curiosity
- Questions can be more valuable than answers
- Novice and expert questions bring value of new perspective and deeper understanding
- Asking questions takes time
- We can learn empathy through questioning
- Build a culture of questioning so that they are welcomed, accepted, and heard.
Where does this leave me and my inquisitive children?
I want to encourage them to ask questions and *try* not position myself as the "one who knows everything".
I want to model wonder and curiosity, so I'll continue to ask my own questions (not sure if it was obvious, but I am a questioner, by nature).
I will help take their questions to new places by uncovering resources and learning together.
I will slow down.
I will listen.
I will continue to love their youthful perspective of the world.
The drive to know is natural and as a mom and educator, I want her to peel away the layers of the world, with support, and acceptance.