Saturday, August 14, 2010


My three-year-old son is going through his "Why?" phase right now. Actually, he's been going through it for awhile now, and when it first hit, my natural inclination was to try to end his questioning as quickly as possible with short answers and a stern warning to knock it off. However, I was struck with the realization that my high school students had lost this sense of curiosity somewhere along the line and no longer seem interested in exploring much of anything beyond the surface.

I wrote about this on my teacher blog ( and opined about it on Twitter. My principal ( sent me a link to this video, and it really struck a chord a with me. I decided right then that I would answer my son's questions to the best of my ability until his curiosity was satisfied.

Don't get me wrong, his repetitive questioning can be very annoying and at times exhausting, but I really do my best to give him real answers to his questions whenever I can. Unfortunately, I'm not the most knowledgeable guy on some subjects and some of his questions simply don't have real answers. This has lead to some interesting conversations.

We were driving down the road one day when it began to rain. He asked why it was raining. I proceeded to tell him about the water cycle and about how moisture builds in the air to the point that it can't hold anymore and that the temperature also plays a role in producing clouds capable of causing precipitation. I was pretty proud of my knowledge of this (a big thank you to Eastern Illinois University for making me take a class on weather and climate), but he wasn't satisfied. He wanted to know why all of this happens. I explained that it was simply the laws of nature at work. He wasn't satisfied with this either. I was left with no other option than to tell him that is just how God wants it. He asked why God wants it that way. I said it is because God wants to water the plants on Earth. He asked why. I said it was because he wanted them to grow and be pretty. He asked why again. This went on for a good five minutes before I could only tell him that he needed to take this line of questioning up with God. It was at this point that my little boy looked up from his booster seat and said in the most innocent voice imaginable, "God, why do you make it rain?" There was silence in the car for a few moments. Then he looked back at me and said, "Daddy, he's not answering." I caught myself just in time to keep from saying, "Sometimes God doesn't answer us right away," but I knew that would only start the cycle again. I'm a man, not a saint.

Other times, his questions just don't have an answer that I can give. We were driving through town (most of these happen when he is bored in the car) and passed some cheerleaders from the local university holding signs advertising their car wash. If I'd had cash, I would have stopped. I mean, my car was dirty and it seemed like a good cause. Anyway, my son asked what they were doing. I explained the idea of a fundraising car wash. He asked why they needed money. I explained it was to pay for their expenses since cheerleading is an often overlooked program when it comes to funding. He asked why, so I explained about revenue from ticket sales and pressure from booster clubs. He was okay with that, but then asked why they were allowed to stand out near the road and wash cars. I said I didn't know. He persisted down this path, and I honestly ran out of ideas to keep his little mind going. Again, there was silence in the car. Finally, after much thought, my son asked, "Did their mommy say they could?" Hallelujah! "Yes, son. Their mommy said they could." Silence. "Why?"

I don't know if all of this will lead to my son being an engaged and intellectually curious teenager, but I can only hope it helps because I am certain it will be a contributing factor to my future grey hair.


  1. Mr. Ogle, I'm sure your son will be a really good kid, teenager, and man. With your intellegence and logical thinking I am pretty sure your son along with the rest of your children will grow up to be straight forward people and very down to earth.

    J.D. Hasler 2nd Hour

  2. Well from what I've read I can see that your son will grow up pretty good. This post indicates that your a caring father and a good person.

    -Kyle Keenen 3rd Hour

  3. Thanks for the kind words, guys. Hopefully, I can make the same impact with my students as you guys seem to think I'm making on my children.

  4. Your son is really funny, and he sounds really sweet. I think all his curiousity is good. But it can get extreamly frustrating, i have cousin and she does the same thing. I think your son will be a really curious teenager.

  5. It's a good thing to make him understand why things happen. It will make him a better person, and it makes you a good father for trying to answer his questions.
    Makenzie Tegeler

  6. A few years ago, my cousins were also going through the "why?" stage. It took a lot of patience from me to not hurt them, but now they are finally out of that stage. All you have to do is keep being patient with him, and eventually he will outgrow it.
    Aaron Garver

  7. I don't think I want him to outgrow it. Why do we always assume there is something wrong with curiousity? I hope he never stops looking for answers about the world around him.

  8. I liked your point about how we, as high school students, lose interest and our curiosity. That is so true, I can definately relate to that. Everyday when i sit in classes, i space in and out. You can tell that other students arent really getting into the conversations either. When teachers ask if there are any questions at the end of lectures, everyone just kind of looks around but inside has a ton of questions. No one wants to say anything because they simply dont feel they should have interest in the topic. I need to do better with my interest and curiosity.

  9. I agree with Pia. I feel like I have also lost interest in school and with doing my homework. And when I do my homework I just hurry up and get it done to say that I have done it.

    And that is funny because my little brother asked why all the time when he was in the stage. It was so funny, he hated it if you asked it back to him and I just laughed when you posted about it.

    -Kayla Stickler

  10. - Carmen Jones.
    As being a high schooler we do lose interest in homework and er also do not have the paitience to do that. And my little brother askes why also. He is so funny at what he is asking why at. And I think that teachers should give more time to do homework because some of the students have jobs and don not get home until late.

  11. My neice and nephew are going through that stage too. It is so annoying, but I try to answer them. The only real problem is I can't understand my nephew half the time. Sometimes I think he speaks a different language all together. I just have to keep guessing at what he is saying until he tells me yes.
    Jasmine Bennett

  12. my younger sister had this same exact problem just she wouldnt stop until you gave her and awnser she would go on and on and on it would get so annyoing until you just couldnt take it anymore and you would just leave the room and then shed yell threw the house why did you leave and thats when she finally stopped.
    Cameron Malone

  13. I can honestly perfectly remember when I use to do this with my parents. Constantly, nagging them about why about things and what they were for. I can promise you though, it gets better with age. We don’t ask as many questions, and we try to stay far from parent as possible. Stay golden Ogle :)

    Samie Heidemann

  14. I thought this was funny. When it started talking about him in his booster seat it reminded me of a song,I think it is by Dierks Bentley.