Questions: Letters to My Daughter
Dearest Baby Girl,
I love you. You will always be my Baby Girl.
I’ve already answered a few thousand of your questions. At two-years-old, the majority of your questions are; “What’s that?” and “Where’s Mom?”
I hope you ask me a million more questions. You will always have them. Asking others questions, and yourself questions, is a great way to grow. Yes, you will gain knowledge, but more importantly you will learn other valuable lessons.
Asking questions will teach you humility, for to ask is to admit you do not know the answer.
It will teach you to never assume.
It will teach you that possibilities are absolute if you don’t ask them and endless if you do.
It will give you the opportunity to gain wisdom.
I think by now you know that I value wisdom above most things. I have a thirst for knowledge, and while it may be rooted in my own insecurities, it does fuel my desires to dream big. It also equips me with the tools to act on those big dreams. It helps me understand this world on a deeper level, which is invaluable.
I question everything and everyone, until I trust their knowledge.
A good rule to use in life when learning new information is; “trust but verify.” This rule will help you when learning things from people or institutions that society tells you not to question. Examples; scientist, teachers, preachers, your parents, authority, and even God.
What led me to want to start questioning things?
Things learned in college turned out to be wrong.
When you are growing up, you think everything a teacher tells you is true. How wrong that assumption was —and is. I learned a lot of information in college was wrong, though I assumed it to be right.
I felt lied to…
You see, teachers and professors are people too. They have belief systems, life experiences, and ideologies that shape their opinion. Some begin to believe their “opinions” to be “facts”, because their beliefs are so strong. Some teachers and professors use their podium as a tool to espouse their non-factual views. Some get addicted to the power of shaping young minds into believing what they believe, and that all other opposing opinions are wrong.
Yet, these same people forget society can only flourish within an arena in which ideas battle back and forth from different viewpoints. An arena where logic and reason win out over hate and suppression of ideas. If people shut down other’s ideas, then free thought is no longer free. When thought is bound within the parameters of one person’s or a group’s beliefs, it ceases to be a thought at all. It becomes a thing… a mutated monster called societal group think.
We should always listen to opinions, thoughts, and ideas that are different than our own.
Never fall into the trap of believing something to be true, simply because others believe it and you’re too lazy to find out for yourself.
Believing someone I never questioned to always be right, thus hurting me in return
I had this friend growing up, and he used to know the answer to everything. He knew about everything, no matter the subject. I felt really stupid around him —almost brain-dead, even. Then I slowly realized that he was full of it. He did not know about anything in which he pretended to. It was frustrating, annoying, but I began to understand why.
I questioned why a person would do this? I questioned what about this person, or his life would make him do this?
Then I observed, and used past experiences to deduce the reason. The reason hurt me, and made me sad for him. I learned this friend of mine was extremely insecure about how smart he was. He also worshiped his father like a man-god that had never been wrong once in his life. He always desired to make his dad proud and to be exactly like him. So, the way his dad spoke to him, he would speak to others. That meant always being right, even if he had to make up all the facts.
This aspect of people, of friends, of the world made me sad, because reality showed itself to often be slightly darker than the lies we live, and tell ourselves. I learned this lesson by questioning the validity of my own friend’s words. It felt like a betrayal. But he betrayed my, right? Or did his father betray him? And his father before his father? Another life lesson… blame is less important than the root cause of the problem.
Relying on other people’s beliefs, facts, truths, could never be trusted without at least some verification.
Let’s see… I was a Christian because of believing other people’s beliefs without knowing for myself. That led me to rejecting Christianity, and then believing other people’s beliefs when I then became an atheist.
Well… atheism was a sad existence of denial. So, I finally questioned my own thought process, my beliefs, and the information available, for myself. I then saw the truth, and have been, and will always be a follower of Jesus Christ. Those are MY BELIEFS, and not because someone told me so.
That’s just one example, but it applies to everything you hear and learn. Do not rely on others for your knowledge. Question things, seek the truth, and find the truth for yourself.
When you practice this throughout your life, you will find you are uniquely your own person. Your beliefs are yours, and you actually have reasons for believing them, since you went and found those reasons for yourself. It is very rare that people can say that.
Always be you. The only way to be you, is to discover who you are. You can never discover who you are, if you let other people tell you who you are and what you believe.
I felt powerless, relying on everyone but myself for information
I’ve spoken many times about the power knowledge and wisdom can give you. Again, power is not bad if you use it for good.
When I encounter people who know a lot about a subject, which I know little about, I feel weak. I feel beholden to believe what they are saying, because I have no knowledge about whether their words are true or false. It leaves me vulnerable to manipulation. I don’t like that feeling. This is another reason that fuels me to seek knowledge. It fuels me to seek a broad range of knowledge, so I can at least use logic mixed with knowledge to understand an even greater number of topics.
Having a broad range of knowledge allows you to feel comfortable in situations most would not. And, it allows you to feel comfortable around people most would be nervous around. It’s crazy, but it all starts with questioning the world, and the people in it to gain a better understand for yourself.
It may seem silly to say this, but you need to seek answers if you are going to question. Questioning just to question is foolish. The only reason a person does this, is to sling subtle accusations at the validity of the information, towards the source being questioned. If you are going to question someone, then listen to what they say.
Do not listen simply to await your turn to speak, but truly listen. It’s the only way to learn.
Is questioning someone or something the same as not trusting them, or it?
- Trust is the end result of the formula.
- Someone’s information + Verification of information to be true = Trust.
- Trust is built upon reliable information. Reliable information can only be deemed reliable by your own verification of the information you are being told or shown.
- Overtime, if the source providing the information is consistently reliable, then at some point you will begin to trust any information from the source as accurate. Only you can determine when that is.
People or things to question
Question; Information from the Internet, TV, News Companies, Teachers, Politicians, Government, Friends, Family, Parents, God
The only one I will comment on is the questioning of God. That may seem extreme, or blasphemy to you or others, but hear me out. I mentioned it in an example above, but I mean to say that it is healthy to question how you came to your beliefs in God. If you believe only because your mother and I do, then are the beliefs yours? If you do not question as the atheist does, and find answers you are comfortable with, then you will be open for attack from those questions, and your faith could become flooded with doubt. It is better to journey on this path alone, learn the truth firsthand, rather than rely on the beliefs of our parents.
I do not fear what your journey of questions will find, because the truth is there for those that truly want to see it. It’s always been there.
I love you sweetie, and hope that you have a life full of questions you want answered!
PS- To the readers: I always enjoy your comments. What do you think of my ramblings on questioning the world we interact with every day? If you believe in a god, how did you come to that belief? What influence did your parents have on that belief? (I’m fascinated by people and their way in which they interact with the world. So, I’d love to read your comments.)
Want to catch up on others in the series?
H= Home Run!
J= Just Joking