My child asks why, Why, WHY? WHY!

By Brian Hobby

Do your offspring drive you batty with the “why?” question?

This was our approach with the boy of many, many, many, many questions……

As our boy got to the 3 to 4 year old inquisitive stage his thirst for knowledge sent him down the why,why,why,why,why path.

I think it is even worse than the “are we there yet?” question as that is confined to the car and was easily diverted with I spy at that age.

The nominal adults in the house were discussing the shift at length and my wife said “why don’t we try what my parents did to me?” I asked her to tell me more….

Well it turns out that it was no more than explaining to the lad that “why?” was not a valid question and that neither parent would be answering it from now on! If he wanted an answer then he needed to think about what it was that he “actually” wanted to know and ask exactly that. Starting with why was OK but there needed to be more words to follow it.

As with all things parenting, we both applied it consistently, when we got a why, we would go “that’s not a real question, what do you actually want to know?” In fairly short order we had interesting discussions on why the sky was blue, why there are so many different types of cars, what are clouds and where did the earth planet come from. The trick was to start with a simple explanation and see if that answered it, if not then get slightly more detailed and check again. Often once he knew the simple answer he was happy and went back to thinking up the next real question!

For us it worked a treat! Interestingly talking to his 1st year teacher at the parent teacher interview she commented that “your son asks such interesting and well thought out questions” we looked at each other, grinned, and told her why.

Payback is sweet, not long ago the lad was explaining something to us as we were traveling in the car and I asked why? He explained, I asked why again – to which he retorted, Dad “why isn’t a proper question” I think we taught him well!

 

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Climate Change, Politics, and 9 year olds……

by Brian Hobby

Driving home from burning sausages for the intermission nibbles at my community theatre of choice my son and I were chatting as you do – about the weather – and that led to the topic of climate change; followed closely by politics.

Warning; the lad is the progeny of an engineer and a chemist so he leans in the maths/science direction.

His immediate statements were “what do the scientists say?” followed closely by “What is the government doing to solve it, because science says it’s occurring so it’s the government’s job to act on what the scientists say ……” (very evidence based is my son and not big on religion either)

His view is that the evidence is in so we should all act on it, and as the government is charged with doing the correct thing for the people it governs it is their “job” to get on with it.

Sometimes I wish I could see things with the clarity of a 9 year old!

I had to disappoint him with the fact that the current government didn’t even have a minister for science, let alone have a decent plan to deal with climate change. His response was pretty much “WHAT!” Followed closely by so what do the government actually care about? That got me thinking, how to break the major parties down into chunks digestible by a 9 year old……..

So I went, the Liberal party tends to be about letting business get on with it and letting the market sort things out. Unfortunately this often means it’s about the money, and some people think that money is only important thing. He quickly said what about friends and the environment, if you don’t have them money isn’t much use!

Then I said, the usual opposition party is Labor, they came originally from the trades areas – you know builders and all the people that helped extend the house. They tend to be about a fair society, making sure there is medical care for everyone and that no one gets left out; oh and they did an ok job of starting on the climate change problem. Hmmm he went.

Ok I said, then we get to the smaller parties like the Greens, their main areas of interest tend to be looking after the environment, but they also want to look after all the people like Labor and encourage more cycling and thinking about how to do things smarter; oh they are also for making sure everyone gets a good education and acting on what science tells us.

The discussion ranged far and wide across what it all meant and what can we do about it, how does voting work and could 1 vote make a difference. In the current Senate election I said it has literally come to 1 vote deciding the outcome – WOW he responded.

As we closed on home and the impending bath and bedtime stories, he confided quietly to me “I think I like the Greens the best

 

if you could have a super power which one would it be and why?

While out walking the dog in the forest my son and I were chatting about many random things as you do.

He then asked “if you could have a super power which one would it be and why”

The discussion got very interesting from that point, what would being super strong help you do? how about flying? what would spidermans tools let you do?

Then he said “what about reading minds?” This led to “wouldn’t it be great to know when someone was going to do something bad so you could stop it”; followed closely by the “just because you think it you may not actually do it” – how many people have you thought about killing? (several spring to my mind)

We then discussed what is bad/good and who says so and drifted out into cultural differences on the globe and how what is acceptable one place may not be acceptable in others.

All in all a good way to pass time while enjoying being out it the greenery, and a small step on the path to turning the lad into a useful member of society.