‘Do I ask stupid questions?’

By Cassandra Walker

My second son is extremely inquisitive. There isn’t a day that goes by where he doesn’t ask some sort of question. I understand his curiosity because I was one of those children who had a question for every adult I encountered.

There are times, however, that the entire family gets rather weary of his constant probe of questioning. No matter where we are, or what we are doing, he inserts a question into the conversation.

If there were a Guinness Book record (and there might be) for the most questions asked by a child, I believe my son, Skyler, would be in the running for the record.

This past week, he asked me was a car heavy? I, in turn, asked him what did he think?

“I think it might be heavy because it is made of metal,” he answered.

“There you have it,” I replied, as I attempted to walk away.

“But, then again, it might be light because it can drive across a bridge and the bridge would break if it was too heavy,” he added.

“Perhaps, the bridge is heavier and strong enough to hold many cars,” I slowly answered.

“I guess so. But, I still am not sure how heavy a car is and really what is considered heavy, anyway?” he questioned me with a look of concern.

I told him that heavy is a relative term and that something might be heavy to him like a gallon of milk, but light to his father. I went on to explain to him that when considering human strength, a car would be labeled heavy.

He looked at me and noticed my tired face.

“Mommy,” he asked, “do I ask stupid questions?”

I paused as my glance caught the look of his sad eyes. I knew that my frustrated mannerisms had signaled that I was not enthusiastic about this conversation. I felt a pain in my heart for his young emotions.

“Why do you ask?” I asked, softly.

He went on to tell me that his older brother tells him that he asks stupid questions, and he wanted to know which ones were stupid, so he could stop asking them.

I let him know, as gently as I could, that although sometimes I may be tired and not want to answer a lot of questions, keep asking.

I informed him that adults and older brothers sometimes forget that they were once young, and needed answers. They, too, needed someone to guide and comfort them.

To answer some of the questions he had asked that week, I told him:

“Yes, it will hurt if you stick that in your eye.”

“No, we can’t move into Kurt Warner’s house.”

“If you had all the money in the world you probably would not want to spend it all on candy.”

“Yes, God knows that no one likes mosquitoes.”

“Yes, when I am writing on my computer, I still know when you and your brothers are goofing around.”

“No, you do not ask and have never asked stupid questions.”

I believe it is important to let children know it is OK to ask questions, no matter what they are. It may try our patience and work our nerves, but that is how they learn. Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I was thankful that my son felt better about asking whatever he wanted. I assured him to go ahead and ask away, and that mommy was here to answer his every concern.

“Mommy, one more question. When I am 16, can I drive to Africa?”

No comment.

Thanks for sharing.

Cassandraism: When dealing with children, leave your options and questions open.