I was in an Uber Pool car on my way home. Two sisters trooped in. One had a bubbly 3-year young child. Here is how the conversation went…uest
Child – Maa, tell me honestly, where does God live.
Maa – (While texting) He lives in the hearts of nice young children.
Child – (We pass a Shiva temple. Its peak traffic time. Our car is crawling) – Maa, tell me honestly, who lives there? (pointing towards the temple)
Mother – (Looking up from her phone) – (Taking a deep sigh) (A little restless now…) He lives there too.
Child – (By now it had raining) – Maa, who sends us rains?
Maa – Arre baba, it is God who sends us rains. I have told this many times, haven’t I?
Child – If God stays here, then how he sends rain from the skies?
Maa- God stays in many places. He has many homes. When you grow up, you too should have many homes…
I was amazed at the questions of the child. I was equally amazed at the composure displayed by the mother. I was expecting her to snap at any moment. I have seen parents do that. She didn’t. She struggled a bit to maintain her composure but she did it successfully.
I wanted to clap for both of them. My home arrived and I had to get down. I gave a high five to the child saying “You are a smart child.” Looking at me eye to eye, she said, “I know.” and I burst out laughing.
I am in awe of this generation of kids who are still below 10 years of age. They are so smart. In many ways, they are fearless too. I never had the courage to ask questions to my dad. Ask him back-to-back questions? Impossible! No wonder, compared to these kids (like the one in the car)) I was dumb. I realise now, one of the critical factors in this difference is the ‘the ability to ask questions’.
Why do we need to hone in our kids, the ability to ask questions
In this ever-changing world, where past skills become redundant soon, what will help your child stay relevant? It is a skill to learn fast. The faster they learn to learn, the more they will be relevant to this world. Learning can happen through observations. However, there are two small drawbacks there.
My observations may be incomplete. I may not be able to see the whole picture. For example, if a mother is saying NO to a child for ice cream, I may not know, the child is recovering from a throat infection.
My observations may be biased. I may not believe in sending my child all alone to buy something from the grocery store from across the road as I am scared of the traffic. Another parent might believe, it is necessary for the child to get these exposures. My biased observation will make me judgemental and NOT smart.
On the other hand, if I have the ability to ask questions, I will observe and proceed to ask to get deeper insights on why someone is nurturing their child in a way that is different from mine.
That’s why we need to develop in our children, the ability to ask questions. Those who ask questions, learn a lot. Those with a capacity to learn, ALWAYS have an advantage over others.
What’s this simple act of asking questions lead them to?
This ability to ask questions equips our kids to understand the world, the events, and occurrences around them, and the general scheme of life. Ability to ask questions helps in the cognitive development of children, helps develop in them the ability to think critically while fine-tuning their comprehension skills. That’s how they learn and become problem solvers.
All of this happens through the simple act of being curious, letting that curiosity flow and take shape into questions. Encouraging kids to ask questions can go a long way in helping them become intelligent, smart, aware kids.
Is this ability natural of do we need to create it?
Children are born with the ability to ask questions. Children love asking questions. They are naturally inquisitive and curious. When young, their questions seem so adorable! However, as kids grow up, we do not particularly look forward to their unending curiosity. Curiosity is a very great trait actually. Someone wise has said, ‘The antidote to boredom is curiosity. There is no antidote to curiosity.’ Isn’t that brilliant!
The world belongs to people who are willing to and who are open to learning. Learning happens fast when we are willing to ask questions. Thanks to Google, people who ask questions can learn things even on their own. Without that ability, we can learn only what is taught. Every inventor, explorer, revolutionary and history maker had the quality, ability, and aptitude to ask questions.
Where do we goof up?
Since we are preoccupied with our issues, we wish to rest when we are at home. Often, we dismiss the questions of kids for naivete. We think their questions are silly and ‘NOT SO IMPORTANT’. It interrupts the adult’s flow of thoughts that are busy with adult issues. Hence, we discourage our children from asking questions.
For asking questions, we sometimes get angry at them, yell at them, or make fun of them. In the process, we stunt their growth. We live in a fast-paced busy world, juggling multiple roles, ambitions, and responsibilities. If we do not have the luxury of taking our own sweet time to sit with our kids, we naturally tend to become snappy at their unending questions. Smart parents avoid this trap to ensure their kids stay curious and inquisitive.
How do we help our kids develop the ability to ask questions?
In order to develop in our kids, the ability to ask questions, we need to patiently and lovingly answer them. No one expects us to know all the answers. Guiding them to find their own answers is good too. The point is to not discourage them from asking questions. We can set aside some time to sit with them, indulge them, let them ask whatever they wish. It can be the time when we are exclusively available only to our kids, even if it is just for a few minutes in a day. It will go a long way in helping your kids.
Why is it imperative?
In times to come, this ability will help and give them an edge over others. This quality be an advantage for them to learn things faster. Such ability will help our children face anything that life throws at them. So be a patient and happy parent when your kids ask questions. Humour them and show them the way. Even accidentally, do not trample their spirit by discouraging them from asking questions.
If you need more practical tips on building the ability to ask questions in your kids, watch the video on this subject from the 8 Critical Abilities topic of the parenting program. Besides this, when you have parenting queries, do not forget to send them to us! We look forward to helping you out with every parenting query of yours.
‘I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious’ – Albert Einstein.