How come there’s paint on the bottom of the boat?
Why is the water red?
Where does the water go?
How come there’s ice on the lake?
When did we go to Duluth?
On and on and on and on.
The questions come — when I read. Right now, Brennan, my almost seven year old son, is the head question asker. We’re reading the book, Paddle to the Sea (by Holling Clancy Holling) for geography this fall. It takes us 2-3 times the normal time to get through the book because with every sentence comes a question.
Where’s Lake Nipigon?
When will he get to the locks?
How come he doesn’t sink?
What’s a ballast?
Why do they call it Davy Jones’ Locker?
The questions — oh, how they used to aggravate me. After all, how can I read and stop every three seconds? How could anyone learn? Or listen? Especially with constant questions. Even his siblings would mutter — “come on, Brennan, let mom read.” And, yet, the questions kept coming.
Is that a long time?
How far away is that?
Could I build a boat like Paddle to the Sea?
Why do the leaves turn colors in the fall?
Where’s Whitefish Bay?
The questions — when you really listen to them you discover that they’re quite amazing. Those endless questions represent learning. A little mind curious about the world, about nature, and ultimately about God. Questions that must be asked.
What’s my response? Irritation? — that teaches don’t ask. Frustration? — that teaches that I’m not interested in teaching, but rather finishing. Annoyance? — that teaches you’re not important. So I stop. I’m not parenting on super drive. I’m parenting and teaching on their time. Not mine. The laundry and dishes and cleaning will wait. If it takes us 20 minutes to read page 21 then it takes us 20 minutes.
So, for now, we read.
Although, there are times where I tell him to wait till I get to the end of the paragraph.
Then he wiggles.
So I let him ask. Again.
And — I answer. Again.
How come? Why? When? Can I go there? What’s the wood? How come there’s copper there? Can I go on a boat? Why do they call him that? What do they call those boats? Why does the water shimmer? How come those antlers fall off? What do they do with the lumber? …..
And, just in case you’re interested, we’re working through the Geography program put together by Beautiful Feet. I highly recommend any of their materials. They are a literature based history company, and I can honestly tell you that our family has developed a love of history. And of asking questions…. lots of them