“The great scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, but one who asks the right questions.” – Claude Lévi-Strauss [Tweet this.]
Seriously. This is a really important question.
The questions we ask about our work, our relationships, our possibilities, our world and our life inform our worldview. Ask great questions, get great answers, then amazing clarity, achieve greater results, impact more lives.
The questions we ask do matter. So let me ask again: do kids or adults ask better questions?
My busy week of speaking with various groups offered some insight on this. Last Wednesday at a corporate leadership retreat I took questions near the end of the presentation. Some of them were:
- What did you do with the 60 baseballs?
- What does your brother do for a living?
- Where did you meet your wife?
- How did Jack Buck find out about you?
- what did you do before you began speaking?
They were nice questions; totally relevant to the presentation; and I was honored to answer them. But, my friends, compare them to the questions of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders the following day from Carson Middle School at Fort Carson in Colorado.
- If you could go back in time, all the way to when you were a kid, and blow out the fire so you wouldn’t have been burned, would you do it?
- When times got hard for you as a kid, what got you through it?
- What’s one thing you think we can do to make a difference when we see someone in struggling in our school?
- When you walk in a room and people stare at you because you’re physically different, how do you respond?
- Are there ever days today when you just feel like giving up, days when you feel totally worthless?
What incredible depth, sincerity, and concern!
Many of these kids have a parent deployed; several have both parents deployed. Because these are the sons and daughters of active-duty soldiers, they move every two years. New state. New home. New school. New friends. New struggles. These kids are tough, sweet, challenged, brave and incredible insightful.
So, who asks better questions, kids or adults?
My friends, in general I believe children do. They go so deep and so quickly getting to core life concerns. They’re wide open to new ideas, new people, new thinking. They naturally have the perfect blend of curiosity, vulnerability with a pinch of audacity to ask what is ever on their minds.
The good news for us is that we once were like them. We once were totally on fire for life. We once were actively learning, growing, experiencing life fully each day. We once asked the hard questions, waited for the answers, and fought for what we believed. It’s beautiful to see children live like this. It’s also essential for business owners, nurses, teachers, employees, parents, neighbors and leaders from all backgrounds to live this way too.
Be curious. Be vulnerable. Be unafraid. And be assured that the best is yet to come. [Tweet this.]