Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Wonder of "Why?"

My children, ages 4 1/2 and 3, love to ask questions. "Where does ham come from?" "How do you make paper?" "How are bowls made?" "How does the telephone work?" "Why is elbow macaroni curved?" "Why is Cookie Monster blue?" Each answer I give is generally followed by another "Why?" on their part.

Then, there are the questions about our faith. My older son David, by virtue of his name, has always had a fascination with the Biblical story of David and Goliath. "Why did David kill Goliath? We're not supposed to kill people." I told him it was part of God's plan, to which he replied, "But God made Goliath. Why would he want him to die?" Hmm . . .good question. At the consecration at mass today David heard the priest say "This is my blood. Take and drink it in memory of me." "Why would anyone want to drink blood? Yuck!" was my son's response. On the plus side, at least he was paying attention.

As much as I am sometimes exhausted by the constant barrage of questions that come my way, I find their inquiries fascinating. I have long since lost that high innate level of curiosity. Partly, that is because I know a great deal more than my children. Many of my questions have already been answered; to them, the world is still full of mystery. As far as they are concerned, there is so much to learn and they want to learn it now!

Alot of times, however, I just take things at face value. I have no burning desire to understand what makes my digital camera work or how Massachusetts (where we live) got its name. With these topics, I'm learning right along with my children, whether I want to or not. Thank goodness for the internet where I can look up the answers to these questions relatively easily!

Curiosity is one of those characteristics that makes us human. My husband and I recently watched the movie "The Island" about a group of human clones who have been grown and kept for their organs. The people who create and manage the clones have been able to keep them under control by depriving them of their curiosity but as some begin to exhibit that trait, all bets are off. They start to wonder what is outside their own safe secluded little world and set out to find out. Once they have curiosity, they want to discover. Each question leads to more.

Curiosity fuels learning. It also is the beginning of our relationship with God. What is out there that is greater than us? Where did we come from? Who made us? Why? What is our purpose here on Earth? Why do we die? What lies beyond? In life, there sometimes seem to be so many more questions than answers, but the questions are important in and of themselves. Through our questions, and our search for the answers, we continue to grow and develop. As my children (and I think God) would tell you, it is always important to ask "Why?" As one of my former teachers used to say, "We aren't going to discover anything God doesn't already know!"

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