May 31, 2011


My kids like most other people's kids like the question, "Why?"

As a scientist I like this question. It's a good question. Although I am beginning to suspect that they don't really care about the answer. It is rather an exercise in control and attention seeking.

Nevertheless as Dad who tries to put in the extra effort, I go ahead and answer these Whys. I've noticed something. You can ask "Why?" ad nauseam. Also with the right education you can answer a lot of these questions. Combine the two and you end up in one of two places at the end of approximately 20 Whys.
  1. Quantum mechanics
  2. Philosophy
Parenting 101 should require course work in both subjects.

Bonus: Two excellent ways to stop this line of questioning:
  1. Ask back, "Why what?"  They are rarely paying attention and ask the "why"s on autopilot.  They can almost never answer this question.
  2. Ask back, "Why do you think?"  Once they realize they have to think they'll back off.

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