Asking big, difficult questions seems to be second nature to a little thinker. The more complicated the question, the more enticing it is. For a kid, it isn’t scary to ask.
For a grown-up, however, big questions can be downright terrifying. They don’t have specific answers, they take an awfully long time to discuss, and worst of all, they often force us to admit that we don’t know everything. Eeek.
Halloween is just around the corner, and this time of year, we embrace scary stuff. We dress up as scary stuff, we put scary stuff up around our house, and then we celebrate by eating tiny chocolate bars. Here are a bunch of reasons why even grown-ups shouldn’t be afraid of big questions:
- Our kids are going to ask them anyway. Why not create a space that nurtures their curiosity and encourages them to develop thinking skills?
- Some big questions, despite being a little scary, are actually really cool and interesting. A lot of parents, once they get over their initial trepidation, actually find themselves just as intrigued as their kids.
- Learning to tackle big scary questions can help kids do better in a bunch of different subjects at school. Recent studies have shown improvements in math and literacy for kids who learn philosophy in the classroom.
- Kids who take on big scary questions also stand to benefit socially and emotionally. They develop confidence, empathy, and they learn to listen to a variety of perspectives.
- Big questions help kids bond with their parents. It forms trust, and it opens the lines of communication. The family that thinks together sticks together.
For anyone looking for a place to start, here are a few Halloween-themed questions to ponder as you don your costumes and wander the neighbourhood in search of treats:
- Why do we think some candies are delicious, and some are disgusting? What’s the difference?
- If you could pick a superpower to go with your superhero costume, which one would it be? Why would that one be the most important?
- What’s the difference between a monster, and a regular human or animal? Why do we think of some things as monsters?
- What’s the difference between an imaginary character and a real person?
Is it the word “philosophy” itself that’s scary? Meh. Don’t let it spook you. It’s just a word, and it means “love of wisdom.” Pretty warm and fuzzy, right? Howl at the moon, and shudder and shriek at ghouls and goblins, but don’t let the prospect of a deep conversation with your kid give you the creeps. And be sure to reward yourself with fun-size candy.