When I was little, I had a set of comic books called “100,000 questions for kids”. It was about a young girl who wondered about the nature of the world, and a professor explaining it to her in very simple and easy to understand terms.
I read them over and over again, thirsty for knowledge and to comprehend the world around me. After years of asking questions and dissecting myself on the questions I do ask, I have come to the realization that answering questions is also an art.
When a child asks “Why is the sky blue?”, he already understands that the sky isn’t blue for no reason at all, and that there has to be an explanation other than “because it is so”. He probably has a vague reasoning behind it, and by asking the question, he wants to see if he’s on the right track or not. Therefore you can ask “What do you think? Do you have any ideas on why it’s blue?”, and maybe give the child some hints and clues instead of telling him the answer right away. This way it will get his thinking caps on, and he will also learn to solve the problem first before asking for an answer straight away.
Therefore whenever I get a question that’s a start of a good discussion (such as “What is happiness?” or “What is the purpose of life?”), I like to know what made them think of that question in the first place, and what their current understanding and thoughts are. By knowing where they come from and what event raised this particular question, I have a better chance of getting on the right track and discussing the answer he or she was looking for at that particular moment of their lives.
It’s interesting that depending on our current situation and state of mind, we serach for very different answers to the exact same question. It may be for other’s approval and empathy, or seeking a purpose for ourselves, but it can also aim to challenge, show off, and create a sense of “I’m better than you”. It will be up to us to determine and protect ourselves from negative and harmful questions, and to welcome postive discussions.
P.S. If you didn’t know why the sky is blue, think about it, and here is the answer : )