Dumb Questions

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Today I had to babysit a child and I would pick any other job in a heartbeat over it. Although I would never like to do it again, I learnt something about myself. The child was asking questions continuously, it was like she was modelled to put WHY in front of anything that was coming out of her mouth. She asked as to why plants are green, why can't she use my laptop, why can't she swallow chew gum and for a moment I thought what a series of dumb questions and felt bad for my cousin.

Later, I gave it more thought as to why I felt questions are dumb and found out questions were never dumb, it's because I was dumb and couldn't answer it so I projected that feeling on the question and labelled them as dumb. Then I thought why am I feeling dumb if I don't know the answer, and why she is not having the same feeling.

Is it because I am an adult now and I am supposed to know these answers and if I am not aware of answers then I am a failure or not a good role model. After a while, it struck me that it's not a function of age but conditioning. Soon the child will start getting signals (I was also a part of that signal today) that it's not okay to ask questions, you have to appear smart in the world to survive, it would come indirectly from people she interacts with regularly and it will be a subtle shift that she will never notice (friends giving a strange look on asking questions, or realising that no one is asking questions in classroom)

Now, why asking questions is important because questions breed knowledge, they are the powerhouse of creativity and clarity and as a child, she wants to learn all about there is in the world and she is asking dumb questions, but soon she will learn that looking smart is more important. I noticed an important pattern here, she will not stop asking questions, she will ask questions but it would be something like

I know plants are green because they absorb all other spectrum of light and reject green, now some plants are also red because they reject red, but why do they behave differently is not clear, maybe it's climate or defence mechanism from animals?

This is how I ask questions, and this is a dumb question, why, because this question reflects what society wanted me to do, the objective of this question was never to know the answer but to reflect how intelligent I am, this question was designed not to look dumb so that no one questions my intelligence, which is sad.

Anmol Saini

Anmol Saini