Updated: Oct 26, 2019
At a young age, my son had gotten quite good at that one word question most parents seem to cringe at: “Why?” But I'm a weirdo. I love that word. I get excited as to where it can lead, especially with kids. Answering their why's is one of the most affirming things we can do for them and I believe it keeps our adult minds young as well.
Greg Koukl further champions this in his book, The Story of Reality,
THE FIRST QUESTION any of us learns to ask about anything—and we usually learn to ask it quite early in life—is 'Why?' - #TheStoryOfReality #GregKoukl
Now, let me add a caveat: With my son, there were also plenty of times when I was exhausted from the day or was spinning several plates at the moment. That being said, I rarely ever invoked the, "Because I said so" motif. I really have tried to adopt at least to give him a, "Just obey what I'm saying now and we can talk about it later." Now you may be shouting at me as you read this and now you're the one who's asking "Why would I do that?" Or "Why waste the time?" The reason is very simple: It's one of the most powerful ways to actually help our kids think for themselves. It's not a waste of time. Truly, it is one of the best investments you can make in their lives and in your relationships.
Where Did Why Go?
You've seen them. The millions of memes, overlaid on pics and videos. It's insane how we've all fallen for these things! For whatever reason, our brains are trained to more readily accept whatever those clever quotes say in the usually square frame. Shady as can be, the text becomes the lens for how we view the pic or video it seems to be describing. They just infiltrate our minds with what one wants us to believe and simply bypass our mechanism that would otherwise ask the all important why. Why should we accept the caption they give? This is symptomatic of the culture we're growing up in.
As a culture, we’ve seemingly unlearned how to think critically anymore. Now, we've become experts at criticizing a given person, people group or hot-button culture issue and the like. But ask someone, "Why?", "Why do you believe that?", and you’ll usually be able to hear the sound of crickets chirping. What’s happened that moment is you've just made them think about their why for the first time. More often than not, and this is the sad truth, you will get the meme-ized, parroted jargon that shows they're just repeating someone else's thoughts about the given issue. They (and to be fair, many times, we) don't even realize that they're doing it! So sad.
Why We're Really Afraid of "Why?"
For some, we're very busy. For most however, we've become distraction addicts. There's something deep inside us that we try to keep caged because we would rather avoid thinking it through ourselves. It’s so much easier to rally to our “tribe” and polarizing ourselves. Koukl taps on that nerve,
...asking 'Why?' goes deeper into the heart of things. We begin asking the question not of any individual thing, but of the whole thing. What is the reason for everything? Why am I here? Why is anything here? Why is anything important or good or beautiful? Why? - #TheStoryOfReality #GregKoukl
So here’s my observation and my challenge to you:
When someone or something comes along and challenges our life philosophy, we usually do one of a few things: Either we avoid eye contact, (going straight down to phone), or we get angry and mock a listening posture only long enough to package our heavy-handed response. But...What would it look like, if we would listen to each other? We don't have to agree, just really listen. And after this, even more important, what if we thought about our "Why?"
What do you think?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Tell us how this post helped you. Or tell us what we missed. Also, feel free to let us know which topics you'd like us to cover in the future.
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Copy Editor: Cae Towns