What I Learn From Answering My Kid Every Time He Asks “Why?”

It’s like 300 times a day, you guys.

“Curiosity killed the cat” is a stupid saying.

We all know that kids are curious. It’s an incredibly healthy character trait and I try every day to maintain a childlike level of curiosity myself. Some might say that I’m childlike in other ways. They’re not wrong. Let’s move on…

Our 3 year-old asks us “why?” a lot. Like, all the time. We love that he’s curious about everything his senses encounter. So much so, that we do our absolute best to answer him every single time.

For real. Every_single_time.

He asks a question. We answer. He asks why. We answer. He asks why again. We answer. Repeat. Seems easy, right?

Nope. The strange thing is that once you get past the first 2 — maybe 3 — “why?”s, then you start to realize that you may not know as much as you thought you knew. It’s weird. It’s bothersome. It’s eye-opening. Two levels of “why?” and all of a sudden, you’re an idiot.

Seriously. Try it. Start with any question.

Here’s an example from the other day:

3YO: What’s the hottest planet in our solar system?
Me: Venus. (Bam! I’m awesome!)
3YO: Why?
Me: Because although it’s the second-closest planet to the Sun behind Mercury, Venus has a thick layer of clouds around its atmosphere that keeps the heat in. (Pow! I’ll take “Brilliant Parents” for $500, Alex!)
3YO: Why?
Me: …
3YO: …
Me: Finish your carrots.

I mean, it’s a total win if we get to the third “why.” It rarely ever happens, so we love the challenge. Also, the whole exercise further supports and encourages our kids’ curiosity. That’s a good thing.

For us, it teaches us to think about and look at things a little deeper than we’re used to. For our kids, it let’s them see that it’s ok to not have all the answers all the time. Anyone can get an answer, but asking the right questions is the hard part.

Fear of not having the answer should never be the reason to not ask the question.

This is just one of the infinite ways parenting is like starting your own business. Keep asking questions. Try your best to answer all of them, but embrace the ones that don’t have answers yet because that’s where growth and learning happen.

Let yourself look deeper into what you think you “know.”

Try asking yourself “why?” 5 times. I promise you that if you can get through all 5, your final answer will take you down to the root of the answer.

It’s easy to only see this exercise as exposing what you DON’T know, but really, it’s an indication of how much you WANT to know about something. The latter is more productive, constructive, and offers much more value.

It works pretty much on anything. I try to do this exercise for my business venture every few months as it relates to customers, product development, marketing, branding, etc. You might be surprised where you end up after 5 “why?”s. I usually am.

Stay curious. Stay interested.

#bewhatyoumake

Vijoy Rao || Founder // Magic Room Brand
When you’re doing something you love, you shouldn’t have to compromise.

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