From the moment I get up in the morning the questions start rolling…. the three year old is going through a “what happens if” phase with an alarmingly gruesome theme these days; “Mammy, what will happen if your eye ball falls out and you stand on it and squash it?” is just one of his recent gems! Before I have even had my morning cuppa I have attempted to answer a fair whack of questions. The process continues throughout the day… from the back of the car, while we do the shopping, during meals and all the way through to bedtime… he can literally fall asleep mid question!
But why the incessant bombardment of questions?…
There are over 100 billion cells in the brain of a newborn child. These cells need to start forming networks and connections with each other or else they will be “deleted” by the body in favour of more active cells . It is the child’s interaction with its surroundings and its social contact that greatly influence the amount of connections made within its brain.
The brain of a three year old is two times more active than that of an adult!
By the age of three the child is often actively developing its ability to think and question what is happening around it in every aspect of life! This is when the real deluge of questions come! This phase of heightened questioning supposedly lasts until the child is about ten years old. So I am blessed with three children in this busy questioning stage of life.
As exhausting as it may be, listening, answering and encouraging these questions is highly important to the development of the child’s brain…. it literally “Lights it up!” I think it is equally important to promote this questioning so that the child develops it as a habit they carry with them right through life! If you were to think of some of the scientific greats, who pops into mind…. Da Vinci, Darwin, Einstein, Newton maybe? Now would you say their work has left an impression on you because of their ability to learn or their sensation for questioning? Newton, at the age of 19 abandoned the norms of college learning and instead set himself a list of 15 questions that he explored for the rest of his life!
Interestingly, I find that my own ability to question life has been greatly enhanced since my children were born. I consider this a blessing and hope to continue learning how to question as they do. However, there are times, I must admit, when the answer to one of their questions is “just because!”… well I am only human!