Like most two-year olds, my grandson Will has an insatiable Passion for Why? My fondest hope is that the Why Passion ignites his mind and his very soul throughout his life and the lives he touches. I fear that life, especially institutions, may quash this beautiful and life-giving Passion for Why.
It’s a given that nurturing the Passion for Why can be a tedious task for parents, grandparents and care givers. Ideally, love covers the earliest years. It’s institutional repression that saddens me and saps my hope. To a large extent we know what it is about schools and other institutions that quells the Passion for Why. It’s seat work, teachers forced to teach to the test, focus on a strict diet of basics dominated by a rigid rewards structure that confines kids and teachers alike. On the playground and in the park, it’s about rules – coaches don’t cotton to Why’s that spill uncontrollably from four-year-olds who have a Passion to ask, if not to know.
We forget that the real power is in the Why per se – answers are not absolute. Why is forever – and so it should be.
So Why do we draw such finite lines, insist on fixed answers, discourage the Passion for Why? Why do we even care if we don’t know the answer, if there is no answer? And when did we stop asking Why in the real in the grown-up world.
Every time I field one of Will’s Why queries I thank him for reigniting my own Passion for Why!