The unintentional wit and wisdom of four-year-olds lead to profound discoveries. How many times will a precocious preschooler ask, “why?” They will ask more times than most adults can endure. Yet, their enduring, and sometimes endearing, determination force careful analysis and genuine simplification.
“But why?” they ask. At wit’s end, we give a cliched answer. Not a wrong answer, mind you, we provide our comfortable “quick fix” conclusion. Our quipped response is usually coded in adult terms leaving the “why” question unanswered still. Confidently, we begin to simplify, then quickly realize that we bought a prepackaged explanation and are ill-equipped to simplify. At this point, we often have missed the point behind the relentless toddler. So, we fall back on adult trump card answers. “You are too young to understand.” But they are not too young to want to understand. Maybe we just don’t know the subject quite as well as we supposed.
This scenario leads my mind to Proverbs 26:16, “A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than even people who answer discreetly.” (NIV) Accepting the moniker of “sluggard” is not comfortable. With the plethora of unconfirmed conclusions gushing from the internet, a quick sweet sample often fools us into gulping down a bitter drink. Some interpretation tickles our fancy, and we thoughtlessly buy the entire package. When the simple “why” question intrudes, our failure to confirm rushes to a very four-year-old sounding response, “It’s just obvious!”
How prone we are to spend all our intellectual capital at the discount rack of “Conspiracies R Us.” It is not necessarily true that the sluggard jumped quickly to his conclusions; it is just that he did not jump carefully. In his mind, his “quick fix” reasons trump the well-researched responses of seven others.