by Traci S. Sanders
Here’s an amazing statistic from Warren Berger (amorebeautifulquestion.com):
Did you know that between the ages of 2 and 5, children ask about 40,000 questions?
This got me thinking about one of the ways the very young learn – they point – which I like to think of as the original question mark. Babies and toddlers may not ask “What’s that?” but we know what they mean as soon as they point.
I see this all the time in my neighborhood – children in strollers pointing away. It’s as if they’re conducting their own learning.
This led me to wonder about my experience when my children were very young. While I talked, read, and explained the world to them every day, it was always my questions and my answers. Yet, when they wanted to know something, they simply pointed; it was their very own question.
As my children got a bit older, they stopped pointing and started asking. These were our years of discovery; learning together for the sake of learning. Some questions led to answers that skimmed the surface and disappeared; others dove deep and continued for years; and still others remained long after the initial questions had been asked, influencing them to this day.
Looking back, some of the questions were about milestones, their milestones, and the stories behind them. This made me think that, throughout life, questions such as these take a unique path; they start with us and continue with our children.
Our questions become their own.
When will they be born?
Whose eyes will they have?
What will their first word be?
What books will they love? What interests will they hold?
What stories will they tell?
What gifts will they share with the world?
When is my birthday?
Whose eyes do I have?
What was my first word?
What were my favorite books? Favorite interests?
What did I talk about?
Who else loved to do this as much as me?
In essence, these are questions for understanding ourselves.
And they continue – albeit in a different time and place – generations of asking and receiving, because we can inherit the answers from those we love; we just have to ask the questions.