Ask More Why!


Thursday night I returned to the U.K from a an amazing Summer in France. With my beloved Ipod finally giving up on me this Summer, I have lately been forced to listen to the sounds of the world that my headphones and awesome tunes had been keeping me from.

Everybody who has flown before knows of that horrible queue that everybody is forced to endure for somebody to glance at your passport and your face for a few seconds and decide whether you are in fact you or not. It was whilst standing in silence and on my own in this long, long queue, dragging my heavy broken wheel bag behind me, that I heard of the most uplifting and reassuring things that I have heard in a while.

A family stood behind me with their 3 year old, (overheard the mother confirm this), son and he was continuously asking why to everything. Why were they queuing? Why did he have to stay with his parents? Why were there barriers? Why, why, why? Even to the point where he asked his mother which desk she will be going to and why was she staying with him. "Well because I love you and I want to stay with you." She replied, to which his once again said simply, "Why?"

I could not help but find my self smiling at this child's unknown philosophically curious attitude - even questioning why his mother loves him. I could not help but think how amazing a childs mind is. To question everything, to wander and seek deeper - a mind that has not yet been trained to accept what is simply put in front of them but to question why it is there in the first place, how did it get there, who created it and what are the alternative options. Not enough people give childrens minds enough credit simply because their mind is not as aged. as their own. If anything, I have come to find that it is a fresh mind and pair of eyes to a situation that is less bias, judgmental and on the whole more open.

As we moved slowly through the never ending queue, to one of this cute little boys 'Why?' questions his father answer, "Because." A plain, one word that provided absolutely no real answer whatsoever. I found my self feeling angry at this. Surely anybody who has been a child knows all too well the unsatisfying, annoying and frankly patronizing and insulting that that kind of an answer would deem good enough, (would you give this answer to an adult asking the question?), reply of the 'Because' or worse still, 'Because I said so'. I have already vowed that if I were to ever have children, I would never answer their questions with a 'Because' or 'Because I said so'. This poor excuse for an answer would never be good enough for me so I intend to not insult anybody else, no matter their age, by assuming that it would ever be good enough for them either. If somebody is asking a question, it is because they want the answer!

Too many of us when we get older forget to ask why anymore. We are repressed into bowing down to authoritative figures and big names, big brands, a world that seems bigger than us and our wonders of it and we start to accept more than we question. A pet hate of mine in life when I question something and I am met with the answer "Because that's the way it it." Just because it is, does not mean that it should be. It does not meant that just because something 'is' now, that it always will be, that it can not be changed. It just means that it is still waiting for somebody to question it enough to want to change it.

If we train our children now to accept answers such as 'Because' and 'Because it is' they will learn that that is the right answer and soon they will stop questioning. They will stop asking why, they will stop questioning authorities and the government, they will stop investigating past what they are told and they will fall into the dangerous pattern of believing everything that is put in front of them by the big names, the big brands, the world that seems bigger than them - and they won't question any of it.

Our freedom and power to ask Why? is what keeps us growing as humans. If we didn't ask Why? then we would become zombies, sheep to the authorities that tell us how to live and discourage us from asking why they want us to live that way - and who are really the ones who are benefiting.

Our ability to ask Why? Is what encourages us to explore, discover and improve. It is those whys that lead to a How, and a When and a Who and a Where and a What can we do about it? What can I do about it?

The power of Why? Gives us the uplifting motto: Why Not?

I so wanted to say to this curious little boy 'Never stop asking why kid!' but unfortunately I did not get the chance before we had to part ways, our journey through the never ending queue at passport checking had finally drawn to a close. I quickly turned round and the toddlers eyes met mine. He smiled up at me and I smiled back as we high fived and I went on my way, feeling reassured that there are people in the world who are still brave enough to ask why to everything, and hopeful, that he never loses that gift.

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