Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Inquiring Minds Want to Know
Young children never seem to run out of questions... Why are there birds in so many different colors? Where does the gas go after you put it in the car? Why are toes shorter than fingers? How do fish breathe underwater? Why do people have hair? Where does the wind come from? Some questions make parents smile. Other questions make them squirm. Many questions leave parents scratching their heads.
There are parents, and teachers, who think children ask too many questions. Questions can interrupt other tasks. They can cause embarrassment, if the wrong questions are asked at the wrong time, or in the wrong place. Sometimes there are questions that seem so nonsensical that they don't deserve an answer.
When my children were young, a flood of questions would begin the moment they opened their eyes each morning. I answered the questions I could, and helped them find the answers to those questions that had me stumped. Sometimes I would give them hints to help them discover the answers on their own.
Many children stop asking questions as they grow older. Some stop because they are told that it is annoying when they ask too many questions. Others stop because their questions are met with laughter, or because they hear comments about the silliness of their questions. Many stop because they worry that everyone will think they are ignorant if they ask. That's sad, because questions are one of the greatest learning tools we have.
I have discovered that when children find answers to their questions, in many cases, it leads to more questions. If you are looking for a way to inspire learning in your child, and in yourself, be grateful for those questions. Let your children know that you are glad they asked.
Today, take time to listen to your children's questions and help them find the answers. And, while you're at it, ask a few questions yourself! Asking questions and discovering answers can lead to a lifetime learning adventure!