In my house growing up, questions were always welcome. I could ask almost anything and be sure that my mom and dad would answer to the best of their abilities or help me look up an answer, when needed. I even called the local library a time or two, to get help with something. (This was before the Internet, of course!)
In isolation, this would seem an ideal situation, but contextually, culturally, this wasn't totally the norm. I grew up in a conservative religious community within a small town in Texas, which is probably exactly what you're thinking: segregated starkly by race, class and gender and with a strong push toward homogeneity. Good people, for sure, but with a definite point-of-view.
In short: questions were dangerous. They sow seeds of doubt and encourage stepping outside the box, rocking the boat and other unseemly behavior that was generally, well, frowned upon.
I grew up just fine anyway, but there's a part of me that still chafes when people attempt to quell good questions with religious platitudes (it's God's will) or well meaning, but stifling simplistic answers: because I said so, or that's just the way things are.
Curiosity is our most powerful ally in the world of invention and creativity. The wonder and awe that comes from exploring the manifold intricacies of our universe, both micro and macro are what drive humanity to make art, discover new truths and innovate.
Thinking back, I'd wager that many proponents of those simple answers were simply trying to make everyone feel safe and secure, keeping the deeper, darker things tightly under the rug. I'd argue that while well-intentioned, the method fails. Only by grappling with hard concepts in a safe and loving relationship, can we hope to be healthy and whole.
It's a misplaced solution: our community and relationships are what keep us feeling loved and secure, not our scope of knowledge or the extent of our questions.
In times like ours, when things feel especially dire and tempestuous, we must stay curious! In looking for solutions, patterns, or commonalities, we may find we aren't the angry, anxious, fearful creatures we thought. We might discover a bit of that childlike wonder we all hold deep within us and in doing so, might find new ways to relate to one another as well.
Stay curious friends!
p.s. This is an op-ed piece and not meant to be taken for anything other than my opinion based on my own experiences. Lately, I'm finding it therapeutic to explore the roots of my past and trace how I got to where I am today. Some threads are strong and steady, while others meander. Feel free to leave a comment, but I'm not here for a debate. xoxo