About the confidence of Asking Questions

Creative urge and learning from children

We do not advance in life unless we ask questions. From the day we are born and all through your life we are constantly questioning things. A baby even before it learns how to speak is constantly questioning his or her self. Each step a new baby takes, each spoonful of food it tastes he or she is questioning their ability to succeed in making the next step, or if the taste of the food is acceptable. Should she spit it our, should she demand a new taste experience.

Young children learn at an extremely fast rate and learn to question everything and as they grow and their language develops their questioning is relentless in their hunger to learn.

There are no inhibitions in a child’s questioning, about anything, anywhere, with anyone. It is a purely demand to know basis. Some will be a bit shier than others and need a bit of encouragement but in the main most adults will be exhausted long before a child runs out of questions.

The average child from any background, creed or colour will mix, communicate, explore, experiment, and befriend, through the analysis of questions. If one question doesn’t work they will construct another one and they never seem to tire in their quest for knowledge and clarity. Even when a child is alone they will happily talk to their toys and practice communication through questions and answers. These practices develop a sense of confidence, order and security as the young person finds her and his way in the world.
Imagination and creativity

Imagination and creativity play a big part in this world, as does the un inhibitive freedom to think. If allowed this freedom, children show an ineptitude to deal with facts in the running of their day to day social life and know instinctively what is important in maintaining friendships with other small beings. Young children at play are not concerned if their playmates have a different colour of skin, if they come from a rich or poor family or different cultural or religious background or suffer a physical disability.

The first important lesson children learn at play with their peers is accommodation, sociability, fairness. These are innate talents of co-operation children are born with and display from a very early age, and parents naturally encourage this type of behavior in small children
The professionalisation of creativity

Children experience the world with all their senses switched on whether they act, draw, sing, question and play to entertain themselves. When the child reaches adulthood these activities have a tendency to be professionalised. The actor acts and we become the audience, Imagination and creativity become the domain of the professional artist. Professional entertainers take over out social and cultural life and professionals even organize our unquestioning day to day living.

To take back control of our lives we need to re awaken these innate skills and abilities that lie dormant to some extent in each of us. To find a voice and use it, is a imperative of democracy and to experience the effect of that voice is an inspiration to both self esteem and to others in joining the democratic process.
You will never know until you ask

I remember attending a lecture in Liverpool University. I can’t remember what the exact subject of the lecture was, economic theory or such like. At the time I was doing a fine art course at Liverpool polytechnic. I had discovered in trying to exercising reciprocating rights that while university students could borrow books from the Polytechnic Library, polytechnic students could not borrow books from the University Library. This was unless it was done through your tutor and needless bureaucracy which was sure to put most polytechnic students off using the university library in the place. So I start using the universities facilities to see how far I can go before someone says ‘oy’ what are you doing here anyway’ and was surprised at how easy it was to blend in and make use of the facility, except of course the library.

Anyway, I’m at this lecture on a subject I know nothing about and then when it comes to ‘Has anyone any questions? As there was no takers I raised my hand and asked what seemed to me like the most basic question ever asked on the subject. The lecturer looked at me for a second, with that, ‘What the hell has he been doing the whole term’ then answered my question in a slightly patronizing tone. Another hand went up and asked a related question to the one I had asked and what soon ensued was a jargon less informative discussion on ethics and morality concerning economics. It was an inspiring event brought on by a question asked in ignorance.

For me, a discussion in a topic I knew little about in a language I could comprehend. For the students I suspected a chance to air some questions they thought were to simple to ask about, or they should perhaps know the answers to. And for the lecturer who seemed refreshed to engage in the arguments as an equal with his students. In me it re enforced the notion. It is not what you know about the subject but the questions you ask of it

Search for clarity

People always have something to offer to the debate even if it is to ask for clarity. And it doesn’t mater how daft the question seems there will always be other people in the audience or gathering glad that you have asked it.

If people used the same sense of reasoning they were born with in adult life, we could go a long way in understanding and dispelling some of the myths that restrict our political and social knowledge.


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