Many adults are put off when youngsters pose scientific questions. Children ask why the sun is yellow, or what a dream is, or how deep you can dig a hole, or when is the world’s birthday, or why we have toes.
Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before a five-year-old, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that you don’t know? Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys many adults. A few more experiences like this, and another child has been lost to science.
There are many better responses. If we have an idea of the answer, we could try to explain. If we don’t, we could go to the encyclopedia or the library. Or we might say to the child: “I don’t know the answer. Maybe no one knows. Maybe when you grow up, you’ll be the first to find out.
my favorite thing to say to kids: “i dont know. do you want to find out together?” they get SO excited that you actually want to participate in their learning rather than simply dispense knowledge to them.
“He wants to put his story next to hers.
“Sethe,” he says, “me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.”
He leans over and takes her hand. With the other he touches her face. You your best thing, Sethe. You are.” His holding fingers are holding hers.”—Toni Morrison, Beloved
my teacher sent a student home today because the student had had an anxiety attack earlier in the morning and she said “if you have a broken bone, you don’t just keep walking on it and damaging it more, you treat it. Your mental health is the same. Health then school.”