Am I smart? I could not answer a dumb question from a kid.
Here at GreyB, we love any and every form of content that makes us pause and ponder. In our busy schedules, such pieces of content – be it in the form of emails, articles, podcasts, videos – impel us to introspect and gently nudges us to change our approach in the right direction.
I am personally a fan of such material and love spreading the word (huge sharer here :D). So this weekend, when an email dropped in our inboxes that stopped a lot of us in our tracks and compelled us to change our outlook and worldview, I knew I had to share this with y’all out there.
I have copy-pasted Anmol’s (Manager of the Product development team) email below:
Today I had to babysit a child and I would pick any other job in a heartbeat over it. Although I would never like to do it again, I learnt something about myself.
The child was asking questions continuously, it was like she was modeled to put WHY in front of anything that was coming out of her mouth. She asked as to why plants are green, why can’t she use my laptop, why can’t she swallow chewing gum, and for a moment I thought what a series of dumb questions she asked and felt bad for my cousin.
If I could illustrate it as a GIF, it would look like this:
My reaction GIF, you ask. Here:
Later, I gave it more thought as to why I thought questions are dumb and realized questions are never dumb. It’s because I was dumb and couldn’t answer it so I projected that feeling on the question and labeled them as dumb. Then I thought why am I feeling dumb if I don’t know the answer, and why she is not having the same feeling.
Is it because I am an adult now and I am supposed to know these answers and if I am not aware of the answers then I am a failure or not a good role model. After a while, it struck me that it’s not a function of age but conditioning. Soon the child will start getting signals (I was also a part of that bad signal today) that it’s not okay to ask questions, you have to appear smart in the world to survive, it would come indirectly from people she interacts with regularly and it will be a subtle shift that she will never notice.
Why asking questions is necessary? Because questions breed knowledge. They are the powerhouse of creativity and clarity and as a child, she wants to learn all about there is in the world and she is asking dumb questions, but soon she will learn that looking smart is more important.
I noticed an important pattern here, she will not stop asking questions, but she will ask questions like:
I know plants are green because they absorb all other spectra of light and reject green, now some plants are also red because they reject red, but why do they behave differently is not clear, maybe it’s climate or defence mechanism from animals?
This is how I ask questions, and this is a dumb question. Why? Because this question reflects what society wanted me to do, the objective of this question was never to know the answer but to reflect how intelligent I am, this question was designed not to look dumb so that no one questions my intelligence, which is sad.
So I will try to ask dumb questions and encourage all of you to do the same because the by-product of questions is knowledge.
To asking more dumb questions.
Did it change your outlook too? Let us know your thoughts on it in the comments section.