I know, I know – this is not a very original word, but, hey, it’s the letter “Q” for heaven’s sake. What do you want from me?
To ask questions is to be involved in the process, whether your questions are about politics or environmental issues or corporate policies. When we question things, we learn. And when we learn, we grow and become empowered.
The song, “Warning”, by the band, Green Day, pretty much sums up the value of asking questions with one line: “sanitation, expiration date, question everything. Or shut up and be a victim of authority.”
Asking questions provides us with the knowledge we need to make sound and informed decisions. For example, when I became involved with our recent school bond issue, I asked a LOT of questions. One of the most important questions I asked was, “What is the difference between operating costs and debt service?” Operating costs cover those costs associated with running a school – salaries, utilities, supplies, etc. Debt service refers to the amount of money a district is allowed to borrow in order to build and/or improve physical structures. It was important for me to understand this difference so that I could answer questions concerning administrator and staff salaries in relation to this bond request. No, the bond would not give the superintendant a hefty bonus (although heaven knows all the administrators and staff of Joplin schools certainly deserve it). Instead, this bond specifically asked the community to allow the district to increase its debt service in order to be able to borrow enough money to cover the cost of rebuilding the schools that were destroyed by last year’s tornado. I’m glad I learned this distinction so that I could then educate others and alleviate their concerns about providing the school district with such a large amount of money (by the way, it’s crazy how much it costs to build stuff, isn’t it?)
Remember those old Schoolhouse Rock videos? One of their slogans was, “Knowledge is power.” This is why corrupt government leaders discourage the education of their citizens. When we ask questions, we learn, and then we think. Sometimes our questions force others to change their way of doing things in order to help create a better quality of life for everyone. Sometimes our questions make us realize that we are being mistreated. And sometimes our questions lead to revolt or rebellion which, if we are living under an oppressive regime, can help save lives and provide economic and political freedom for everyone.
So, go ahead: ask questions. Teach your children to ask questions. Educate yourself about your local, state, and federal governments. It is the only way you can be sure you are doing all you can to create the best living environment for yourself and those around you.