The Evolution of a Question


Six below. 11 hours 52 minutes daylight.

Remember when you were a child and you asked Why? about everything?

Why does it rain? Why do birds fly? Why do bugs have so many legs?

Remember the marvelous inquisitive game of Why?

Wash for dinner, Dave. Why? Because we don’t eat with dirty hands. Why? Because we might get sick. Why? With that one question and sufficient determination a child could defeat eternity.

When we are young the game of Why? feeds our thirst for knowing. It is a game of exploration, and learning is its outcome. As we grow up, it seems as though we stop playing the game. But we never really stop. Instead, the nature of the game changes. It grows up.

Why? becomes Why not?

This new variation of the game is quite versatile. It is great fun to play with parents. You can’t use the snow-go right now. Why not? You can’t go out tonight. Why not? This also can be an eternity bender.

But it plays equally well with peers. Want to go down to the river? Why not? Want to hang your Doritos bag on the willow? Why not? Funny how one little phrase has the capacity to carry either a positive charge or a negative charge depending on the person addressed.

Clearly the game is no longer played for knowledge. Now it’s played to test the limits of personal freedom and expression, and its outcome is unpredictable.

Want to go run my traps with me? Why not? (very good!) Want to pile snow in front of Dave’s door so he can’t get out? Why not? (hmm…) Want to get drunk and burn Dave’s snow machine tonight? Why not? (not wise is why not). At this stage of the game our children may look adult but we know better, and many nights we may stay up late, praying for them if we are the praying sort. It is our moment of truth. Can we hold the line and impart wisdom to our children as they search for their identity? Good tools like these can help: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I didn’t make up the list; they are from a very reliable source.

The game of Why? that becomes the game of Why not? never ends, really. It will change again. Persevere and you may have the good fortune to witness your children as their game of  Why not? becomes a much more fruitful game of introspection and conscience –

Why did I ever…?




5 thoughts on “The Evolution of a Question

  1. so…. why?

    i hope nobody really piled snow in front of your door! or burned your snow-go…. do you have a snow-go now? i love the photo. whoever thought that litter could make a neat shot! (oh wait, i guess you did!)

    1. Hi, Christie. Actually, I don’t know who hung out the Dorito bag, but I think it must have been kids. They do silly things like that. The other day I passed two impressions in the snow that looked something like tractor seats with legs made by kids sitting in the snow bank judging from the size. I’ve also seen messages written neatly in the snow in 12 inch letters, “Hello.” And mysteriously geometric yellow pee patterns, squares and triangles and the like, that could not be created by any of our dogs (not that I understand our dogs, but I suspect they aren’t mathematically inclined).

    2. Oh, we don’t have a snow machine but one was recently burned. Everybody believes it was done by a teen seeking revenge for something.

      As far as snow in front of the door, I do not know if it has ever been done, but I chuckled to myself as a thought of it and wonder if I would have the nerve to try it on a friend as a prank. As guess there is a bit of child left in me.

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