The word "what" marks months 14-31 of my daughter's life. I gave explanations for cardboard, tattoos, fingernails, and 80% of my surroundings at any given time. Then, right before Faye turned three, environmental comprehension reached sufficient levels. The question changed. We now walk in the land of "why."
Why must we take baths? Why do our neighbors walk their dogs? Why can't my daughter lovingly refer to me as "Kels" like her daddy does?
With each answer, concentration replaces curiosity. Faye mulls. Then, hours later she pours me pretend tea and offers her understanding of our conversation.
One of my favorites is "Mom, you told me we have to be nice with our bottoms."
That wasn't exactly what I said when she playfully smacked the bottom of a little boy in her swim class as he climbed out of the pool. But sure, everyone should certainly be nice with their bottom.
The Hency family walked into this land of "why" alongside America's entrance into the issue of international refugee care. And Faye's extensive line of questioning has taken shape as America has entered the 2016 Presidential race.
My daughter and American adults are coming into contact with new things they haven't given much thought. But the methods of exploration contrast sharply.
Faye's initial reaction is to question; grown-up America's to opine.
Faye's desire is to understand; grown-up America's to convince.
Faye believes others have things to teach her; grown-up America believes they have something to teach others.
Her questions aren't rhetorical and Faye has no idea how to wield a question like a weapon. Three-year-olds simply know they don't know everything. They ask before they state as a way of life.
Asking questions was a skill Jesus exercised Himself as He grew in stature and knowledge.
Luke 2 tells the story of Mary and Joseph taking their family to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast when Jesus was a boy. They left Jerusalem and headed home under the impression that Jesus was among the throng of relatives and friends traveling together. He wasn't.
A full day into their journey, Mary and Joseph realize Jesus didn't catch the flight so they do what any parent would and frantically return to Jerusalem.
After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Jesus were astonished at His understanding and His answers. (Luke 2:46-47)
Do you see the questioning tucked in there? Notice what Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph found Jesus doing:
(1) In a place to hear from experts
(2) Listening to others
(3) Asking questions
(4) Giving answers to questions.
Certainly, these four activities mingled as Jesus sat for three days learning from and interacting with these teachers at the temple. I doubt day one was for positioning and listening, day two and three for asking questions, and day four for giving answers. Fluidity must have existed. Yet, there was order.
Asking, mulling, and considering occurred before Jesus opened His mouth. And what took place when He did open Hs mouth? "All who heard Him were astonished." Astonished at what? The first thing the text says is His understanding. The second thing it says is His answers.
This tells me that pursuing a clear and thorough understanding of a topic before offering an opinion is a manifestation of Christ-likeness.
Brexit and the Presidential election will continue to be topics the masses comment on. Being quick to contribute to the throngs of flapping tongues and furious fingers may seem a virtue. It is not.
Listen, ask, consider, and then, by all means, speak your well-thought-out mind. The masses may be amazed. Christ-likeness has that effect on people.