The age of three is the age of why?! I don’t know when it starts exactly, but I’m pretty sure it’s universal. In the first year, children have just boarded the train of life and begin this crazy journey. In the second year, they’re connecting images and ideas about the world as they experience it. And then comes the third year, when they begin to really make sense of it by throwing out that curveball of a question, 24/7!
Why does the sun shine?
Why is the sky blue?
Why did Lucas (our 14-year-old dog) die?
Why is blood red (after two nights of middle-of-the-night bloody noses)?
This holiday season, though we decided not to share the story of Passover just yet (see Week 27), or the Seder’s four questions, Aviva created her own questions, based on the rituals she experienced over the 8-day festival:
“Why do we eat Matzah, and why can’t we eat bread?
“Why are we Jewish?”
“Why are you Jewish, Abba?”
“Why are you Jewish, Papa?”
“Why am I Jewish?”
With the answer to each question, a new question arises, of course, and though sometimes taxing to consistently answer with patience and an aura of calm, I’m ultimately in awe of her curiosity and sense of wonder. Everything is still so new for her, and she’s actively trying to figure out her place in this big, complicated universe.
When I hear her “Why’s…,” I cannot help but ask myself why and when we as adults stop asking for explanations for that which we don’t fully understand.
Perhaps because we know that the answers are so complicated, we feel overwhelmed even asking the questions in the first place…
As Aviva grows up, and begins asking the harder questions—“Why is there so much inequality?,” “Why is the environment in so much trouble?,” etc., I hope that I can convey to her that although life is complex, and although life’s answers do not always come in tidy little packages, she shouldn’t ever stop asking and wondering.
And just as important, I hope that even if she doesn’t have all the answers, she will be brave and courageous enough to take action and address the concerns that she does see around her, be they social or environmental. That she uses her imagination and creativity to craft and implement independent and collaborataive ideas, in community with others.
May you all have a year full of challenging questions and even more inspiring actions!