CURIOUS GEORGE is nearly 80 years old. How has this storyline endured? I’m curious.
It’s like that grocery store tabloid, National Enquirer says, “Enquiring minds want to know.”
Why “enquire” instead of “inquire”? Curious, huh?
Do you think inquiry is frowned upon? Maybe life would have been less complicated if I had heeded the warning that “curiousity killed the cat”. Maybe the authorities that said, “Don’t question authority,” were wise. Maybe I should have been one of those who accepts rules, regulations, conventional wisdom, dogma as matters of fact; without questioning.
I love that the first sentence a child learns is “Why?!”
Could it be that there’s a better answer than, “Because I said so. That’s WHY.”
Friday night, we were at Cracker Barrel® with our Grand-Girls. It was our first time there since Nora, the youngest, at 16 months began running at a pace best described as a blur, with hands just as fast. Karlee, the oldest at 6, grabbed my hand as we were walking in, and asked in a voice so her parents couldn’t hear, “Pops, could we maybe do a little shopping after we eat?” Of course we can. That’s Cracker Barrel’s business model!
During the meal, as Karlee was slathering apple butter on her biscut, she said, “Pops turn around and look at all the stuff on that wall.” If you never been to Cracker Barrel, they have excellent apple butter and a LOT of stuff on their walls. “See that NO SMOKIN’ sign,” she asked. (She’s reading really well these days.) I confirmed that I did see it. Then she asked a question that could be important for Cracker Barrel designers, “Do you think they’re serious about that, or is it just part of the decoration?”
Why did she ask that? It’s not like she was thinking about lighting up. I’m no psycologist, but it seems like maybe, it could be, that for kids, there’s a beautiful curiousity for the sake of understanding, for knowledge, and maybe for curiousity in itself.
For many, many years, I sought to have a part in the spiritual development of some teenagers. To the casual observer it may have looked like I was just playing volleyball, snow skiing, and eating enough pizza to bring on coronary disease. I listened for hours to the woes of early adolescent drama, and had more fun than anyone deserved to have.
What I hope I did NOT do was squelch their inquisitiveness about spiritual things, just giving pat answers. I hope I never gave them the impression that to have questions means you don’t have faith. In fact, I hope I helped them understand that as your faith grows, so does the importance of asking more questions, deeper questions.
I’m going to say this outloud, here in virtual ink. I’ve said it before and gotten in trouble for it, probably because I don’t explain it well, or whomever I’m trying to explain it to doesn’t have ears to hear. When it comes to faith, to a spiritual quest, don’t ever stop asking questions. But, know this: sometimes you won’t find an answer. It’s not necessarily because there isn’t an answer, it’s just that us humans don’t have the ability to fully understand.
Take PEACE for example. It is worthy to inquire about what peace is and how we find it, and while we can experience a degree of it, and sometimes in sufficient quantity, we will never know it fully, because this we know for sure, the peace of God, transcends all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)
I’m not saying there is not absolute Truth. I am saying we can not know it fully; here. We get glimpses of it, and there is always more to learn. When we reduce it all to black and white, inquiry stops. And, when we want to ask questions, we’re told to “accept by faith.” It seems to me that nothing suffocates the journey of faith quite like that attitude: “Don’t question, accept by faith.”
I have a dear friend who is on a quest. She is asking very hard questions which has led me to ask questions, which has awakened something in me, and I am grateful. Perhaps I can tell you more about this in another post.