A conversation with a small child can be a frustrating (and enlightening) experience. Recently, a friend of mine reported just such a conversation with her daughter:
Mom: You need to share your toys.
Mom: Because it’s a nice thing to do.
Mom: Because we don’t want to be selfish.
Mom: Because I SAID so.
While a child asking why might make a mom want to pull out her last non-gray hair, it can be a useful exercise us to do for ourselves. In our busy daily lives, routine saves time. And that’s a good thing. But sometimes we can get so bogged down in that routine that we no longer ask if it’s the best way to do something or if it’s even necessary any more.
There’s an old story about a woman who cut the end off a roast before putting it in the oven. Her husband asked her why. She replied her mother had always done so. Curious, she asked her mother who replied that it was something her mother always did. Now both curious, they visited grandma in the nursing home. When asked, she said, “I only had one small pan, and I had to cut off the end to get the meat in there.”
Yes, routines often outlive their usefulness. So a good dose of asking why is sometimes in order.