Saturday, January 22, 2011


I answer a lot of questions in a day.  More precisely, I answer ONE question MANY times a day.
I know you’ve heard the tales from every parent out there.  bug is no different from any other three year old.  He has entered the “why stage.”  It’s an important part of toddlerdom.  This is when his curiosity broadens.  When he makes important discoveries and develops interests.  His questions are developmentally essential and will lead to learning and knowledge.
But sometimes there just aren’t any simple answers.
I try my hardest to answer every question he has.  I try to make my answers as truthful and yet as understandable as possible.  And most often, that’s just not good enough for him.
Case in point:
Today we were driving in the car.  We passed a house that was for sale, and bug wanted to know what the sign was for.  So I told him.  He thought for a moment.
“Did we buy our house at the grocery store?”
“No, bug, we didn’t.”
He wasn’t satisfied.  “Why?”
“Because you can’t buy houses at the grocery store.”
THAT wasn’t good enough.  “Why?”  
“Because the grocery store isn’t big enough for every house that’s on sale.”
Silence for just a moment - and I believe I’ve finally sated his curiosity.  Until...
“But where did we buy our house?”
“It was where it is right now when we bought it.”
“Yes, but where did we buy it?”
And finally, I decided the simple answer just wasn’t going to cut it.  
“Well, we used a real estate agent to find our house and she worked with the real estate agent of the people who were selling the house and decided on a deal and when everything was worked out, we met at a real estate office and signed a lot of papers and gave them a lot of money and THAT is where we bought our house.”
Pretty clear, right? Well...
“Because that is the way property transactions take place.”
And then I pulled out the magic phrase.  The one that always illicits a different response...
“Why do you think, bug?”
“No!  Don’t say that!”
I always begin with a nice easy explanation and slowly, the conversation evolves into more complicated theory and philosophy.  But what bug wants are answers, and he wants them now.  He doesn’t want simple pat responses - “Because I said so!” - and he definitely doesn’t want to find the solution himself.
mr learned early that with bug there are no easy answers.  That’s why their conversation go something like this:
“Why do we eat this?”
“Because it tastes good.”
“Because the molecules in the food have the right shape to fit into the receptors in your taste buds that perceive and register pleasant flavors.”
And that’s that.
In the car today, I started getting frustrated with the “why” game.  I finally told bug that sometimes there’s no discernible reason.  And when he asked me why after that, I had a slow dawning of insight.
Why should I become frustrated with bug for the incessant drone of why?  Do I not behave in the same way?
When I was alone and struggling before I found mr.  “Why?”  When I straggled grudgingly through health issues.  “Why?”  When I felt abandoned by friends and others.  “Why?”  When I wanted nothing more than to have a baby and was forced to wait.  “Why?”  When family members fought with cancer.  “Why?”  Amid the torrential plagues and plights of humanity - depression, mental illness, health problems, backbiting, gossip, financial woes... those ever present trials that we all must overcome in some form at some time.  “Why?”
And I can hear Heavenly Father saying to me, just as I said to bug, “Sometimes, Kimberly, there are no easy answers.”
For no discernible reason to us, we are asked to overcome.  To endure.  To muddle through the best we can if that is all we can do.
As bug grows older, he’ll (hopefully) gain the maturity to think through problems and questions on his own.  He’ll develop the insight to understand that some answers are not simple.  Some are very difficult.  Some answers are NOT what we want to hear.  And some are just plain unattainable exactly when we want them.
Will I continue to question?  Will I continue to whine my woes to a loving Father in Heaven?  Or will I compose myself with maturity and endure?

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Lisa said...

Wow, I was smiling as I began reading your post because it was funny. I was still smiling at the end of it because of the beautiful insight you've given me. It's almost as though I was hearing a really good sacrament talk. How many times have I asked that very same question of "Why" and gotten no easy answers either. I guess it is amazing how much we can learn from being around little children. Thank you for sharing this.

Kayla Marie Hyatt Cameron said...

Josh and I have decided that we're going the Mr route when our kids get to that stage. I have a great explanation for how Santa gets around the world in one night involving special relativity...

Foundinthe-ALI said...

I have found that "I don't know, that's just how it is" also stops the "Why" :P cute story.

Thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

Great post Kimberly! Loved it! When our little one asks the why (he's been doing it for coming on 4 years now) and the answers are difficult, we've started googling. we google alot around here. but it least it takes some of the pressure off, and that way we don't have to pretend to be experts at ANYTHING. as for my own why questions, i still struggle every day with those... just a lowly human over here, trying to get by. :)

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