What is the key that unlocks new discoveries, insights and understanding? The answer is ‘a question’. Or better yet, ‘a very good question!’
“Without a good question, a good answer has no place to go”
We can help our children ‘release’ these great answers by giving them the right keys. We can help them by being intentional in the ways we ask questions.
When we ask questions together as a family, we are simultaneously doing these: modeling the habit of inquiry and investigation; teaching the process of thinking and understanding the world; showing how to use questions to help others in their understanding.
Here, I would like to offer two questions that can be used to help young children understand ideas at a deeper level. They are:
What would it mean if this idea is true?
How would you live if this idea is true?
Many months ago (it’s been awhile since I last blogged!!) Lewis was wondering if the Big Bang could have happened by itself (Naturalism). I was about to get into the logical argument. Instead I asked him the above questions. Lewis said that if the Big Bang did start by itself, it would mean that there is no real purpose for the universe and everything in it, including us. He then would do whatever he wants because it really doesn’t matter anyway. I asked him if anyone could really live like that (no!). We ended our conversation with the conclusion that if the Big Bang began by itself, to live like meaning and purpose are real would be pretending. And because no one can really live like that, it may just be that this idea is not true.
These two questions helped him grapple with some pretty big concepts. First of all, it helped him make a connection between an idea and where it logically leads. Secondly, he saw how an idea would (and should) affect the way we live. And lastly (and the most important one in this conversation), he learned a process of testing whether an idea is true by seeing whether or not it can be lived out consistently.
Like all children, I was naturally curious when I was younger. But at some point my curiosity stopped and I just took things as they were. And that wasn’t helpful!! I definitely want to ride the wave of curiosity that Lewis has right now, and help him build a life long habit of it. My hope is that the ‘keys’ I equip him with will unlock many doors, not just to better understand things but to know his Creator more deeply.