13 Oct Answers Come From Questions
By: Brooke E. McKay
Answers come from questions. To some this sentence might be followed up by a “Thank you Captain Obvious” or a hushed “…..….duh”. This phrase may seem familiar or obvious on the surface, however, its deeper meaning and application can bring incredible lasting consequences. It is referred to in the Universal Model as the Answer Principle, followed simply by the Question Principle which is, to question everything with an open mind. These two principles, if applied, will bring about more innovation, transformation and discovery than you could ever envision.
How can I say this with such confidence? These principles have become some of the most, if not THE most quoted sentences in the Universal Model. They are brought up almost every time the truths in the UM are being taught to anyone, and for good reason. They are the foundation, as well as the origination, of every new scientific truth the UM has discovered. Asking questions as well as encouraging questions to be asked, can be the catalyst to extraordinary advancement and increased knowledge and wisdom.
Questions come because of curiosity and there is none more curious than our own children. Having four boys 8 years old and under, our home is filled with way more curiosity than is needed to kill the cat. It should come as no surprise to Moms and Dads that a recent study showed that parents, are the most quizzed people in the world. They are asked more questions every hour than teachers, doctors or nurses. It is also probably not a shocker to most parents of a 4 year old that toddlers average a new question every 1 minute and 56 seconds, or over 350 questions per day. Mom’s around the world are nodding and smiling right now as they have been first hand witnesses to this amazing claim.
I get it, questions can bring answers and knowledge but sometimes i think to myself…if I have to hear one more question such as, where does the smell go when I fart in the bathtub or why do my boogers taste salty, I just might lose it. What are we supposed to do with all these questions?!? Let’s take a look at what some other parents are currently doing.
In 2015 a survey was conducted in the UK by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. In it, parents with children ranging in ages between 4 and 12 were asked a number of questions. The results were eye opening to say the least. 83% of the parents were unable to answer basic school-level science questions when asked. When it came to answering their children’s questions, 61% actually feared being asked a difficult question by their child, resulting in them avoiding giving answers all together.
Should we feel bad that we can’t answer every question our children ask us? Should we be ashamed that we can’t remember the science definitions or math equations that we learned in our early school years? The answer is no our brains can only hold so much information for long periods of time and pregnancy brain is a real thing guys, BUT the problem comes when this happens; 63% also said that they have given their inquisitive child an incorrect answer instead of admitting to them that they don’t know the answer.
Raise your hand if you have claimed magic as the answer to your kids question about how something works when you don’t know the answer or don’t feel like explaining it (hand raised). The truth is we are all ignorant, just in different areas. By acknowledging this and choosing to respond truthfully to our children, both the parent and the child will benefit. As parents we have an obligation to our children to teach and point them in the direction of truth. You as their parent are the number one person in charge of their learning and growth. By stifling questions or not participating in their constant search for true answers you are missing out on some of the most incredible parenting experiences.
A new Learning Process is given in Chapter 1.3 in the Universal Model. The first steps in the process involve learning how to question as well as what to question. I have grown up most of my life being taught this process and it was refreshing to find another company out in “the real world” trying to accomplish the same thing. The Right Question Institute is a non-profit educational organization that partners with businesses, schools and parents to help cultivate innovation, curiosity and growth by deliberately encouraging students to ask questions and teaching them how to best do it. They provide a wide range of innovative educational resources that make it possible for all people, no matter their level of education or income, to learn to think and act more effectively on their own behalf. The response to their resources has been incredible. Their Question Formula Technique matches the new Learning Process in the Universal Model in many ways and has so many real life applications. It is easy to see their techniques in action via their online videos such as this:
I put these simple steps into action today with my two older children, ages 6 & 8. We watched a simple video showing the natural phenomenon of water being able to travel down a string from one cup to the next because water molecules are attracted to each other. Listening to them ask questions about the special properties of water while I wrote them all down was exhilarating. They were very capable of understanding the difference between close ended questions (knowledge) asking who, what, when or where; and open ended questions (wisdom) asking why or how. They could also see the benefits of each type of question. They asked some really good questions but were easily able to narrow them down to the ones they believed to be most important or the ones they really wanted to discover the truth of. We did the experiment ourselves and it was entertaining to hear the boys squeal with excitement when it worked for them as well. I think part of them thought it was a magic trick. 🙂 This experience was not only eye opening but also so much fun! Watching their brains tick and their curiosity grow was the highlight of my day and I am making it a goal to try to have experiences like this with my children often.
So what are we supposed to do with all 300 plus questions that come at us everyday? Encourage them to ask more! Life gets busy and the questions will just keep coming so make a list, tell your child you are writing down their questions and that later you will make a special time to search for the answers together; yes, the boogers and fart questions too. The experiences and memories that come from discovering truth right alongside your children is beyond compare. It allows the learning process to be on a horizontal level with parent and child being equally curious to finding truth in the world around them.
Dean James Ryan of the Harvard Graduate School of Education said this in his graduation speech this May, 2016.
“I would urge you to resist the temptation to have answers at the ready and to spend more time thinking about the right questions to ask. The simple truth is that an answer can only be as good as the question asked. I know this from experience…For those who will be teachers, for example, you know that well-posed questions make knowledge come to life and create the spark that lights the flame of curiosity. And there is no greater gift to bestow on students than the gift of curiosity. For those who will be leaders, which is to say all of you, don’t worry about having all the answers. Great leaders don’t have all the answers, but they know how to ask the right questions, questions that force others and themselves to move past old and tired answers, questions that open up possibilities that, before the question, went unseen.”
Questions stimulate the human mind. They initiate inward reflection and outward expression. By encouraging questions to be asked, and over time teaching children and adults alike how to question objectively, you will be giving them a gift that they will be able to carry with them forever. Teach them to question everything with an open mind and to never stop searching for truth in the answers; answers that come from questions.
To learn more about the Universal Model bring truth back into scientific discovery click here
Brooke McKay – UMScienceKIDS
Brooke McKay is the daughter of the founder of the Universal Model and its foundations in Millennial Science. She resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband and their four young boys. As mother of four boys Brooke has four reasons, other than being involved with the UM, that her house is full of rocks, dirt, bugs and experiments. She has a passion for writing, reading, speaking, teaching and learning; especially when it comes to traveling and exploring the world around her. Her favorite thing about being a part of the UM is seeing others eyes light up when they make connections to truth through asking fundamental questions. She is the co-author of the book Introduction to the Universal Model and a blogger and speaker for UMScienceKids.com.