Have you ever spent time with a toddler? They question everything, why do they have to take a nap? Why do they get pb&j for lunch? Why does their new friend they met on the slide have to leave the park? Why can’t they touch the stove? The questions are endless. Have you ever spent time with a toddler mom (or been a toddler mom or dad)? They are exhausted, and just about 5 pm, they can not handle one more question. If you’ve been there, you know.
I was in a small group with a lady once, and she was talking about how exhausting her kid’s questions were, and all of the other moms nodded along, feeling a single moment of her exhaustion. Then she finished up by saying, “I just need to remember that they are new here, of course, they have a lot of questions, this is all still new, and questions is how they learn.”
We all need to be reminded of this sometimes; questions are how we learn. Until they’re not. Sometimes questions keep us from action. I had a conversation with a friend recently that was frustrated by a new employee; this employee kept messing up the process and asking the same questions repeatedly. I suggested that maybe they were taking a bit longer to catch on and thought perhaps a checklist would help. There was already a checklist of sorts that they could use. These weren’t questions of learning because the employee was new there; they were questions of fear. This employee was using questions to avoid stepping out onto their own in their position.
Sometimes our questions are fear-based, and we use them to protect ourselves. Sometimes questions are even more sinister; these are the questions that keep us stuck or cause us to move backward, the questions that do damage. We ask the ugly questions when we look in the mirror and pick ourselves apart, or when we see someone on social media get something we want, and we ask why them or why not me. These questions are joy stealers and hope killers. I have asked myself many of these questions; they have held me back, kept me down in fear and bondage. I spent too long asking the ugly questions; now I prefer fun and creative questions, I choose to ask learning questions. The ones that cause us to dig deep or to look into the light. Now I love to ask questions of possibility.
What kind of questions are you asking?