Many adults are put off when youngsters pose scientific questions. Children ask why the sun is yellow, or what a dream is, or how deep you can dig a hole, or when is the world’s birthday, or why we have toes.
Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before a five-year-old, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that you don’t know? Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys many adults. A few more experiences like this, and another child has been lost to science.
There are many better responses. If we have an idea of the answer, we could try to explain. If we don’t, we could go to the encyclopedia or the library. Or we might say to the child: “I don’t know the answer. Maybe no one knows. Maybe when you grow up, you’ll be the first to find out.
Carl Sagan (via perfect)
When I asked my dad these sorts of questions, he’d take me to the encyclopedia or such he had to find the answer with me, even if he already knew.
Also, I once said “I ate a ton of cookies” and he asked me how many that was. Then we calculated how many cookies were in a ton.
75,000, by the way. There are about 75,000 cookies in a ton. I’ll probably always remember that.