Why?

Dear YaiYai,
You haven’t hit the “why?” stage yet, but it’s coming.  I can feel it.  You’re getting more inquisitive about the world around you, asking questions, trying to work things out in your head.

When you start asking “why?” to every single word that comes out of my mouth I’m sure I will get frustrated.  I will probably say, “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” more times than I like to envision.  Probably there will be a, “THAT’S JUST HOW IT IS!” thrown in there, as well.
I’m going to do my best to indulge you in your questioning.  And like I just said, sometimes I will fail.  But if there is one thing I never want to do, it’s stifle your curiosity.  Your willingness to listen and learn the answer to “why?”

Why is why so important?  Because it is the word that makes you skeptical.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to raise you to be a cynic.  But a healthy dose of skepticism is what separates us from lemmings.   It’s what keeps you from jumping off the Brooklyn bridge just because everyone else is doing it.  In short: it is what makes you make good decisions.

I had never given much thought to the word “why” before.  Until one day (long before you were born) I mentioned to a friend that babies needed to be left to cry sometimes, that they didn’t need to think someone would always be there to pick them up when they cry.  And that friend asked me, “why?”  And you know?  I didn’t have a good answer.  So sometimes being asked why is just as important as doing the asking.  It makes you question your motives.  And questioning your motives is how you make good decisions.

When you are faced with a choice that leaves you feeling uneasy, ask yourself why you are leaning toward one choice or another.  Answer yourself honestly, and see if it is an answer you want to hear.  If not, consider option B.  Or C.  Or the choice of no choice.

Many of the people who have changed the world have started with the question “why?”  Many great social movements strive to answer that question.  If you can answer it for yourself, or at least pose the question, you’re on the path to independent thinking, and hopefully some great decisions and great actions.

You’ll still probably wear clothes that make you question “why?!?!?!” in twenty years.  There’s no cure for that.

Love,

Mommy

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