Every child goes through the “question” phase. It seems as the only answer to an answer is a simple question, “why?” Nothing seems to satisfy! Every explanation leads to another question. The relentlessness quickly becomes irritating, frustrating, and annoying. The only thing that seems to break the cycle is a command to “stop asking so many questions!” Often this is exactly what we do. We may not take the advice then but we soon learn how our questions are not welcomed, accepted, or respected. I think we, as adults, do tremendous harm in our response. Questions should be encouraged. Honored, and at the heart of the human journey.
The opposite of questions plagues us today. It is easier to think we know than admit we don’t. It is more acceptable to bluff one’s way through a conversation instead of acknowledging one’s curiosity. Even when a fact is presented, name introduced, or idea presented for consideration, it is accepted that everyone will act as if they have hear, know, and considered before this moment in time. It is as if our pride blinds us to new possibilities, relationships, and ideas.
Maybe the heart of the matter lies in how we respond to questions early on. Could we use the fact that others are asking questions to celebrate? Someone questioned; celebrate! Someone wondered aloud; party time! Someone open themselves up to things new, and unknown; time to lift a toast!
When questions come should we take time to nurture and encourage the exploration that has begun. The process is not always easy. The fact questions have begun opens one’s self up to criticism, scorn, and ridicule. Our gift of acceptance, honor, and respect can determine how others approach the unknown in the future. There is a simple model in an exchange between Jesus and Peter.
“Simon Peter asked, ‘Master, just where are you going?’
Jesus answered, ‘You can't now follow me where I'm going. You will follow later.’” (John 13.36)
Today will be full of questions. We have the opportunity to shape the future, for all of us.
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