It Is Always About The Right Question

The Right Answer
The Right Answer

The Toddler’s Case

Earlier in the week, I made an observation of an interesting dynamic. I saw a young toddler, perhaps barely three years of age, trying to climb over a gate. It was not a high gate, and I sincerely believed, that with several attempts, he would have made it. Standing beside the toddler was an adult, obviously his dad. What was interesting though, that as the toddler was trying his level best to huff and puff, climbing over the gate, the dad kept repeating the same mantra, “Don’t climb. You’ll fall. Don’t climb.”

That struck me big time. I recalled, just how I repeated the same lines to my son, whenever he tries to climb on the coffee table, dance on the bed or even just try to climb the sofa. I said, “Dont. You’ll fall.” Seeing the whole scene being played out, by strangers, was enlightening. It enlightened my life. Especially on this thing I call, possibility outcomes.

My thoughts are this. The act of climbing over the gate, may seem as something risky, from the perspective of adults, whom in their years of growing up, realized that you can fall from such a venture. And such falls are emotionally attached to the neuro associations of pain.

But, the toddler, being a toddler, never experienced that association because he never did fall in the first place. All he (toddler) saw, was the possibility of that gate being climbable. All we (adults) saw, was the possibility of the toddler falling flat on his face. Thus, we refrain the act in totality. And in that act of refraining, we may have totally eliminated the toddler’s chance of experiencing the possible outcome of having that gate climbed.

As adults, we are freakily paranoid. We, beat our chest in triumphant joy when we hit our sales targets, but shudder at the possibility of sporting a beard for fear of image distortion. We, clamor for recognitions and fame, but grumble at the thought of being humble about it. We, look forward towards championing the cause of rights for the community, but we ill talk our community like rodents in sewers. Are we not, guilty of eliminating so many possible outcomes for our lives, just because our adult peers, colleagues, mentors and family members, told us to be safe. Because it is adult like to be safe.

That Right Answer

In school, we were told that two plus two has to work out to four. There were no two ways about it. Factually and on the basis of intellectual academic rationale, that is a no brainer. But we can never ask a one year old that question right? Because, one year olds, have not been programmed or designed to answer such questions. Yet. So, we wait. And when he has attended enough education, we applause him when he comes home and cries out, “Mum, Dad…two plus two is four!”

But such mode of learning is stifling. At least from my perspective. I mean, what is so great about two plus two being four, if everyone else knows that. That is information in my opinion. Knowledge could be, how many permutations can there be, to get four as an answer.

  • 10 – 6
  • 2 x 2
  • 24 – 20
  • 8 / 2
  • 1 + 3
  • 9 – 5

You get the idea. Perhaps an almost infinite number of permutations.

My argument is on the allowability for a new way at interpreting conclusions/outcomes. Just because you get four, does not mean you comprehend the process. There has to be room for experimentations on getting into any outcomes.

The world can perhaps be such an interesting place to relate to, if all answers especially, those pertaining to life are given room to be explored. Am sure that prominent academics and geniuses got their way around by not being fixated at finding the golden answer to a question. Am sure they allowed themselves the luxury of constantly asking golden questions to an answer.

Anyway, the toddler episode made me realized the method by which we have been brought up and conditioned to live in. Our maverick streak of being adventurous has been stifled by the frustrating need to be safe. It is a condition brought upon by years of warnings and scoldings by “learned” adults. Some of us are more unfortunate when we find ourselves constrained by the idea that there is only one way to lead our lives. Since, “they” will warn us, that living a life other than what was prescribed, as pathetic and pitiful.

Adults are preoccupied with safety. And that itself is an ironic risk. It curbs the innate survival element, that people of old, had always thrived upon. Alexander the Great did not conquer Asia, by playing RISK boardgame.

The final thought about this is, how many of us are actually living within the zone of answers given or taught to us by others? How many of us, like myself, who knows the answer, yet still want to find the infinite number of permutations at deriving it? The fact is, everyone is entitled to live out their life with different methods.  I just prefer mine, to be a bit more complicated. Heh.

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One thought on “It Is Always About The Right Question

  1. Haha. Your post reminded me about a module I learned in SIM. It was entitled Positive Psychology. This habit of refraining your young from doing certain things is ingrained in the Eastern way of raising a child. From a young age, we have been taught to focus on negative reasoning.

    Eg.
    Don’t climb or YOU WILL FALL.
    Study hard or YOU WILL FAIL.
    Don’t approach the girl you like, YOU’LL BE EMBARRASSED!

    We have always raised our children with the concept of avoidance so as to avoid experiencing something unpleasant. Strangely, in most Western communities, the methods are quite different.

    The same examples:
    Let him fall, HE WILL LEARN TO DO IT RIGHT.
    Let him fail, HE WILL LEARN HIS LESSON.
    So what if you’re embarrassed, WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE?

    In the East, we are taught to conform to society norms. In the West, individuality is celebrated. Making mistakes is an important part of growing up. I believe we can learn something good from the Western method for once. Raise people up with encouragement, not dissuade them with discouragement.

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