Are grey wolves really grey? Do they have sharp eyes? What do grey wolves eat? For science, these questions were asked by my daughter as part of her designing a habitat assignment. At first glance, I smiled. My daughter is beginning to know the possibilities of questions. Not for their answers alone. That would be too easy. But for their value, their purpose, their overwhelming significance. This is what lies in the margins for me as a mother and a grant writer. I am drawn to questions, never ending ones too, even from my children. They always open doors for me.
Towards the end of last year, I began to focus on my journey through questions. It’s has helped me make a career in public health. Not for answers too. Otherwise there would no focus on the public’s health. But for their critical importance. Questions, I shared, are all I know these days. It’s also the reason I am drawn to grantwriting. Whether successful or not, ambitious or not, every grant I write, is my attempt at making public health more lasting, more meaningful, more crucial, more rooted in the lived experiences of humanity. We need questions. Not for their answers alone. I understand that we have all been trained to have an answer for every single question we asked. I too value the question-answer format. But what if, our questions only lead to more questions and more questions then lead to more questions with those questions still leading to more questions and you get the drift. What if we are surrounded by endless questions, never ending ones too? Would we then maybe get the valuable solutions the public needs? Not solutions were the spotlight is on us. Not solutions that only boost our career. Also not because we were focused on solutions in the first place, but because the questions led to more questions and maybe solutions but that was never the intent. We were drawn first to the questions being asked.
Are grey wolves really grey? My daughter wants to know. Not because you may give her an answer. That would be too easy? But what if she went on to ask as she did, whether grey wolves have sharp eyes or what do they even eat? The world of never ending questions would add: where do grey wolves even come from and are all of them grey? Those sharp eyes, do you think they are sharp because of their grey color? And when they eat, do they only eat other animals? We could keep going and going and going even including why questions that help to make full sense of the ecology of grey wolves. That to me is the true significance of questions, the ones that never end. There is something very special about fostering the possibilities of endless questions in children my daughter’s age. Not for them to think only about the answers. But to help them make connections with their learning, with their lives. It’s a journey after all. An effortless one, where they will never miss their way, if only we share and tell them about the possibilities and value of endless questions. Watching my daughter go on her path is important and to see her own it, is equally satisfying. Keep questions still with children. Not for the answers. That would be too easy. But for them to value and prepare for the journey ahead.