As with all great journeys, there are more questions now than answers, not the least of which is, where shall we go from here? As that remains to be answered, all we can do now is keep living life to its fullest. – Andrea Willingham, our daughter
Life is a work in progress. We’ve always told our children that. Sometimes we need them to remind us of that, too, when we lean towards sedentary thinking.
We’ve also always told our children to “Question everything,” to not make a habit of accepting things at face value. Sometimes, as you get older, it’s easier to just accept things. Questioning – and dealing with the sometimes complicated answers – can take a lot of energy, not to mention brutal self honesty in assessing situations and deciding how to proceed with both the questions and the answers sometimes.
In a recent article in Mindshift (Why It’s Imperative to Teach Students How to Question as the Ultimate Survival Skill ) author Warren Berger ( A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas (Bloomsbury)) . observed on “Pi Day,” the anniversary of Albert Einstein’s birthday, as well as my own, that questioning “was a big theme for Einstein, who told us, “The important thing is not to stop questioning,” while also urging us to question everything and “Never lose a holy curiosity.”
Berger designated March 14 “Question Day 2014″ , which I think is my new all time favorite holiday. I hope this trends!
Apparently at one time it did. In 2008, Einstein’s birthday was observed as “National Question Day” by the Inquiry Institute, a consulting organization founded by Marilee Adams. But it didn’t seem to catch on. I hope Berger’s effort meets with greater success.
“Questioning is a critical tool for learning,” says Berger. ” It helps us solve problems and adapt to change. And increasingly, we’re coming to understand that questioning is a starting point for innovation. In a world of dynamic change, one could say that questions are becoming more important than answers. Today, what we “know” may quickly become outdated or obsolete—and we must constantly question to get to new and better answers. Questions also spark the imagination.”
With our children grown, and asking new questions that only they can answer, my husband Steve and I found ourselves reevaluating some of our life and work, and asking hard questions about our own way forward. It can be especially difficult to set free the things you’ve created. Like children, the creations we birth often take on lives of their own; bending, and sometimes breaking, under the influence of other forces, and other ideas, becoming things other than expected. If these creations are meant to be, they’ll persevere, follow the course of their own history, unfold in their own way. If they’re not meant to be, they won’t.
What remains is us: The Creators.
And we have so many more questions about so many more things! So we forge onward here, in the next chapter of the next stage of our lives of holy curiosity.
We hope you’ll join us!