It occurred to me today that my grandkids have gotten a lot older. Actually, they may have been older for the past three, four or five years and I somehow failed to notice. I’m not sure what made me think of it, but I don’t remember the last time I heard one of them ask the question, “Why?”
Back in the day (it seems like only yesterday) almost anything you asked them to do was followed by the question, “Why?” Perhaps questioning is part of the developmental process and the need to ask is a phase they go through. I remember that both of my children were pretty good at asking the “Why?” question. I was always confident that I would never respond by saying, “Because I said so.” Well, I don’t always get it right. I have to admit that occasionally I heard those four forbidden words coming out of my mouth.
All four of my grandchildren (my son’s three and my niece’s one) are really good kids and they consistently do what’s asked of them without the need for a second ask, but not always. For example, you can ask the girls if they remembered to wear helmets while riding bicycles on Thanksgiving day? I mentioned the need to them when I saw them on bikes without helmets. They looked at me like I had fallen off of a turnip truck.
I’m sure it took a great deal of effort for them to pay no mind to me, because I’ve learned a thing or two from the General over the past forty-seven years. They didn’t have to ask the question “Why?” I offered the explanation even though it wasn’t asked. “Did you know that more people are seriously injured riding bicycles than playing football? Have your ever seen anyone with a closed head injury?” I know, I know, I am a man of too many words. It is true when I’m talking and it is true when I’m writing.
What was even stranger, while I was attempting to be “grand-parental” and provide unsolicited direction to my granddaughters, my son walked outside, heard what I was saying, and looked at me like I was over-reacting. Has he been back in Texas long enough to become (stupid is not the right term) carelessly parental? I was shocked.
I had never seen one of my grandchildren ride a bicycle without a helmet. When they lived on a military bases, it was essential to always wear a helmet while riding a bike. Of course, it was also a base requirement. Just because they’ve moved to Texas doesn’t mean they are hardheaded. I mentioned that people should cautiously wear helmets while riding bicycles. Isn’t it carelessly dangerous not to do so?
Like I said, “My grandchildren are good kids and they consistently do what’s asked of them. That’s not to say they intuitively always make the most appropriate response when I ask them to do something (my perception/not theirs). They may have grown up in a military oriented family, but that doesn’t mean they are always going to jump when someone tells them to jump. Actually, I’m glad they are assertive enough to desire authoritative connections rather than authoritarian.
In the event one of them is reading this blog and rolling their eyes, then they know the kind of body language I’m talking about. If memory serves me correctly, I think I saw that response at least once over the past several days. By the way, the boys are off the hook. It wasn’t either of them. However, I can’t remember the last time one of them responded to any request made by me by responding with the question, “Why?”
WHY is a Good Question. My all time favorite television commercial shows a little boy following a man around the yard and in and out of the garage, as the man engages in a myriad of activities. It starts with the little boy and man sitting on a bench outside. The man is working on a drill.
- The little boy asks: “Why?” The man answers: “Because the porch needs some work.”
- “Why?” “Because plants need water to grow.”
- “Why?” “Because baseball is played in the summer”
- “Oxygen and hydrogen”
- “Because that’s just the shape of my head”
- “Because monkeys don’t get married”
- “It’s complicated”
- “Because I forgot to get a receipt”
- “I don’t know”
- “Why?” with an exasperated sigh, “Why not?”
They walk outside the garage and see the neighbor in the yard next door. The little boy asks “Why?” The man responds: “Why don’t you go ask your dad?”
As you’re processing the surprise of what you’ve just heard, you hear another, “Why?” – Because when you drive a Sonata, people may think you know something they don’t”
It is a cute commercial! It makes the “Why” question endearing. Even with or without the “Why” question, sign me up for time with my grandchildren. It is always refreshingly delightful. I don’t even know that I’m tired until after they’ve gone home. The house becomes a loud silence and you wish they were back.
I am ready for the next time.
All My Best!