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Somewhere on the web I recently saw that children ask somewhere between 288 and 437 questions per day, depending on age. My experience as an educator suggests that the younger children ask more children while older (8+?) ask fewer. This is probably due to a combination of peer pressure and the behavior of older children that suggests having control of all information that is important.

As a parent and an educator, I have always welcomed as many questions as can be answered without impatience or frustration. As a student of humanity, I see that many of our day-to-day difficulties could be resolved with more people asking more questions. The alternatives are nonchalance, indifference or ignorance, all of which are unacceptable.

This is another way of saying that I find apathy a response that builds or repairs absolutely nothing. Beyond that, the failure to ask questions results in a plethora of misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

Two people are walking into a superstore, both in need of a shopping cart. One automatically grabs the first shopping cart, without bothering to ask if the second person wanted or needed that cart. In that same venue, someone approaches an aisle to access a product and a fellow shopper stands frozen, examining a product and ignoring the fact that someone wanted to pass.

Trivial as these may be, they are representative of societal indifference. How many of my local citizens bothered to ask the Veterans Administration why our brand new, gigantic new hospital has no PTSD department? One of our regional politicians has made a great deal of noise about his commitment to end opioid addiction, obviously to attract votes and voters. But none of his commercials or printed materials cite specifics. Has anyone asked what he has really done? Maybe, if he says that he’s committed, we don’t require any clarification. What has been the efficacy of our local stoplight cameras? Before we elect to eliminate them, how many offenders have been ticketed?

When we stop asking questions, we stop learning and growing. More importantly, when we dissuade young people from asking questions, we suggest that this growth or enlightenment is unnecessary. Ask me what you want, and I always have time to respond. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it and we’ll all be enhanced. Shalom.

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