Monday, October 27, 2014

But Why?

When I was around 8, I had this annoying habit of ending each sentence with a question, "But why?" As you can imagine, my parents loved it. Even when I knew it made no sense to ask, I still had to: "But why?" Over and over again.
A habit that was as difficult to break as biting my nails or looking under my bed for the wicked witch of the west.
In hindsight, it wasn't the answer I really craved but keeping my parents' attention for as long as possible.
I remembered that feeling this morning.
"Are we in space right now?" my daughter asked on our way to school.
"In a way. But we're held to the earth by gravity. "(Score!)
"Where exactly is gravity? " (Darn)
"Good question, Eliot (always answer a question you're not sure about with this comment). I learned this technique my first year as a teacher. Puts students in a good mood and buys you time. Win win.
"And where is heaven?"
"That's easy. You see those clouds? Beyond them."
"Before space or after space?"
"Definitely after space. Or maybe before..."
"And where is God? You know, his home?"
"Hmmm, in heaven."
"How do old people die?"
Oh good. Finally an easy question...
"Well, let's see, they go to sleep after a very nice, long life and wake up in heaven."
"Can people speak to each other in heaven? Can they see us? When you die will you still see me?"
Silence. "Of course, I will always keep my eye on you. And cheer you on."
"Like when I run cross country?"
"I almost forgot, if I go to space will I be cold?"
An easy one, thankfully. "No, you'll have your space suit on."
"Those boots look very heavy. Will I sink into the moon?"
"No, pretty sure you won't. Look at Neil Armstrong how well he did."
"How do people know the sun is so hot if they've only been to the moon?"
I love when space is being studied at school. I really do.
And that's when I remember, it's not the answers that count, it's the time spent answering them.
But just in case, I better brush up on the solar system today.


  1. So funny...and poignant as well. Glad you're back! Mel

  2. A lovely piece to read on a rainy autumn day at the Ederle. It brightened the day and brought me back to many years ago. Very poignant and very true. Bravo.