When we’re a baby, we’re asked “baby questions” like, “Who’s a happy boy/girl? Does somebody have a dirty diaper? Can you say mommy/daddy? Say, who is that? Who is that?”, and on, and on, and on it goes. They’re appropriate, or so we tell ourselves, because they’re age appropriate. Babies are these brand spankin’ new little creatures that don’t know jack about jack. Sure, babies are sponges, constantly learning, adapting, growing, because there’s literally nowhere to go but up… you can’t go backwards into the womb… although I’m betting, at some point or another, most of us, in our baby minds, surrounded by adults asking stupid ‘goo goo ga ga’ questions, probably begged God to put us back.
Then you grow up some. Now you’re a child, who can walk and talk in complete sentences, then a teenager, who thinks they’re a full grown adult, testing the waters, pushing the boundaries, lost in the throws of estrogen and testosterone, and the questions change. What do you wanna do when you grow up? What did you learn today? What’s your favorite movie? Did you clean your room? Have you done your homework yet? It’s a confusing time because not only are you being asked questions by others, as you always have been, now you’re beginning to ask some pretty interesting questions yourself as well. What happens when I do this? Did Dad really mean [fill in the blank]? What’s the worst that could happen? Why don’t I fit in? Should I kiss her? Does he think I’m pretty? Where should I go to college? What’s in a speed limit? The list is endless, as you know. It’s the wonder years with all the growing pains. Everything is still new, but you find yourself struggling as things seemingly have become slightly more consequential than in recent years.
Suddenly, one day, out of the blue, you wake up and everything is totally different. The stakes are higher, the safety net under you has threaded, not looking so comforting as before, and the questions we ask ourselves, and how we answer them, seem to have more of a direct impact on who we are, what we stand for, what we do with the allotted time, how people perceive us, or the kind of influence we have on others. We’re adults, hopefully still learning, growing, now having to face, in real time, the direct impact of the kind of questions and answers we entertain on a moment by moment basis. We question, answer, then, instantaneously, suffer, or reap, the results, adjust, start over, or just give up. Time is precious, more precious than it’s ever been, and only we know what kind of questions we’re asking and what standard of results we’re getting or not getting. If life seems to be more lemons than a cool refreshing glass of water, then we should consider what we’re asking of life, ourselves, of others, of God. Do you ask questions? Do you know how to ask good questions? It is a skill. Do you approach life respecting the fact that your days are numbered? Have you lost the childlike curiosity to even bother? Could you care less? What are you here for? What’s your motivation? Do you approach the day with a sense of purpose, or is it just eat and drink for tomorrow we die? The quality of questions we ask tell of the quality of person we are becoming, because we’re always evolving, ever-changing, into a different version of ourselves, but the standard of our approach determines the value of person on the inside.
The responsibility is yours and mine, period. It’s on our heads. When we get to this stage in life, we can’t be the cooing baby or the hormonal teenager flirting with the next STD, we have to be strong-willed, mature, a person of character, asking the right questions, making quality choices, which, more days than not, can be daunting, but don’t let it paralyze you with fear, let it excite you and inspire a desire to learn, develop, and grow into the person God created you to be. And the best news? It’s not too late to start. You can change your life today, and it doesn’t require a massive reckoning, just a pivot, a change in perspective with a potentially major ROI. The CEO’s, or the creatives, changing the world with technology and such aren’t reinventing the wheel as much as they are just massaging what’s already there into an ever so slightly different shape. We too may simply be in need of a slight adjustment, nothing catastrophic, so learn to ask the questions that motivate, discipline, or launch you into the new reality you always knew in your gut was there just waiting. All it may require is a little sidestep from where you are now.
One final thought… just as eating junk food makes you fat and unhealthy, feeding our minds and souls with junk will only skew and cripple our ability to approach life with the acute awareness needed to thrive… change your diet, change your heart, change your questions, and you’ll change your life. As Jesus taught that the mouth is an overflow of what’s in the heart, the quality of questions with which we engage the day, a career, ourselves, or one another is a direct reflection of the quality of input to which we give our time, attention, and money, so be careful and work towards becoming a person that knows how to ask the questions that bring out the best in you and other’s around you.
All the best…