Thursday, April 19, 2012

Question


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?

Even so…. 

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.

6 comments:

  1. I think that is what the educational system boils down to: do we teach our kids to simply learn facts, accept them and never inquire about possibilities, or do we also give them the option of ask "why?"

    (I taught English in France for two years, and my French kids were never afraid to ask "why" questions.)

    -Barb the French Bean

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    1. Barb, this is the great challenge in education, isn't it? A good teacher is able to teach kids the material so they can excel on assessment tests, while a great teacher is able to not only teach the info but also teach children critical thinking skills. Unfortunately if the teachers haven't been taught these critical thinking skills themselves, they will be ill-prepared for properly channeling their students' energy in order to encourage free thinking.

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  2. I LOVED those Schoolhouse Rock videos! I swear we all grew up smarter because of them! My son asks "Why?" all the time. He is a total science-head. Now he knows he has to do the research because mommy does not have the answers!

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    1. Renee, I have no doubt you liked those videos every bit as much as I did! I still sing this song when I'm trying to recite the Preamble (which actually happens more than you would think!) I'm so glad your son is a science head, we need those guys to help us figure out how to keep the planet running into the next couple of generations!

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  3. I agree!
    An enquiring mind develops a thirst for knowledge which is a good thing, so teach kids to ask questions, but more importantly, the right kinds of questions...


    I'm visiting from the challenge circuit. *waves* Nice to meet you.

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    1. Michelle, thanks so much for coming by! And you are so right - we must always keep asking questions, it keeps our minds from getting too lazy!

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