When it comes to asking big questions, young thinkers seem to have more than enough courage. In the eyes of many kids, there is no subject that’s out of bounds, no one who can’t or shouldn’t be asked, and no time or place that isn’t right. It’s quite impressive, really.
So why do we lose the courage to ask as we grow up? What exactly are we afraid of? Well, for starters:
- We’re afraid to risk getting things wrong.
- We’re afraid to admit we don’t know, and to look vulnerable or inexperienced.
- We’re afraid that we’re the only one in the room who is keen to ask a particular question, or the only one who is unsure of something.
- We’re afraid to annoy or disturb others with questions.
- We’re afraid we won’t know where to start, or how to ask the right questions.
These are all valid concerns, or certainly common ones. As adults, we’re supposed to be sure of ourselves. We’re supposed to know the answers and move confidently through the world without making huge mistakes.
Fear itself isn’t a bad thing. It keeps us safe from all kinds of harm, and no one wants to teach their child to be reckless. However, fear of big questions can keep us from learning, and in turn, may not set the best example for our curious kids. If courage is the ability to acknowledge fear and move forward anyway, then maybe it’s time we started taking cues from our kids. Being courageous enough to take on big questions, and ask some of our own, can:
- Create learning opportunities and new avenues of inquiry. One big question usually leads to others.
- Encourage the development of thinking skills. There’s no better way to grow as a thinker than to play with big questions.
- Build a bond of trust. If your child knows you have the courage to address their big questions, they’ll be more likely to come to you with all kinds of concerns.
- Explore the difference between being courageous and being reckless. Here’s your chance to discuss thinking before we do anything rash.
- Be really fun! A big part of a child’s drive to ask questions is the fact that it’s actually enjoyable. Why not recapture that joy as a adult too?
Be bold! Be creative! Be courageous!