The questions children ask?

Young children have an interesting view of the world and their process of figuring it out has always fascinated me. They seem to pick up so much with apparently limited language and cognitive skills.  How many words are in the vocabulary of a typical 7 or 8 or 9 year old? Yet, they come up with really interesting questions about the world around them that often challenge adults.

My 7-year old niece recently stumped me. She wanted to know how come her Daddy and my good self are from Limerick. I simply could not come up with a suitable answer fast enough. I couldn’t come up with a good answer at all. What was she getting at? Was it a question of geography, the origins of life, accidents of birth, the Pale vs. life outside thereof, being trounced in GAA by a neighbouring county, or something else?

Kids asking questions that their parents can’t answer is nothing new. At the risk of going out on a limb here, I wonder if this lack of answers is a contributor to lack of interest in science in later life. It requires a formal campaign of time and effort to encourage students to study science at third level at least in this country. Would this be needed if the little ones had their questions answered and talked about in a fun and informative way?

A recent study of childrens’ questions is food for thought.   4 out of 5 parents couldn’t help their offspring with questions like this lot.  Thinking caps at the ready, what answer would you give to the following 10 questions posed by the young folk. Googling the answer is not allowed. All answers have to be “child-friendly”? You have to answer right-away.

  1. WHY DON’T ALL FISH DIE WHEN LIGHTNING HITS THE SEA?
  2. HOW MUCH DOES THE SKY WEIGH?
  3. WHY CAN’T PEOPLE LEAVE OTHER PEOPLE ALONE?
  4. WHY AREN’T BIRDS ELECTROCUTED ON WIRES?
  5. WHAT IS TIME?
  6. WHY IS THE MOON SOMETIMES OUT IN THE DAY, TOO?
  7. WHY DID GOD LET MY KITTEN DIE?
  8. WHY DO I LIKE PINK?
  9. WHY IS WATER WET?
  10. WHY DOES MY BEST FRIEND HAVE TWO DADS?

How did you get on?

Not easy, are they?

In my opinion these aren’t just very intelligent questions, they are profound and deep ones.

My big question is where does this beautiful curiosity about the world, its creatures and environment disappear to as children grow up?  How did this enthusiatic questioning and wondering get replaced by rote memorisation and passive acceptance of facts for far too many of our young folks?

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Posted on August 19, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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