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WHY?

 

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I love the way toddlers talk and explore and inquire.  The world is a vast classroom and they want to learn everything so they ask questions.  I’m blessed with two Grands, Dan and Elaine, who are just now turning three.

Early one morning while Dan and I sat on my front porch steps, he stuck his finger in a tiny hole where some mortar between the bricks had come out.

“Look, Gran.  A hole,” Dan said.

“Yes, there is,” I said.  And then Dan asked the favorite question of all toddlers.

“Why?”

“Some of the mortar is missing.”

“Why?”

“It probably fell out.”

“Why?”

“Because it got loose and fell out.”

“Why?”

I sipped my coffee and decided that it was time for a new topic.  I pointed up toward a tall black oak tree. “Dan, look at the birds perched high on a limb in that tree.”

“Where?” Dan asked.

He looked up toward the sky just as the birds flew from the branch. “Oh, they just flew away,” I said.

“Why?”

“They wanted to go somewhere else.”

“Why?” Dan walked down the steps.

“Maybe to find food.”

“Why?”  Dan, dressed in his pajamas and bare footed, stood and was poised to step onto our creek gravel driveway.

“Dan, the rocks might hurt your feet,” I said.

“Why?”

“You don’t have your shoes on.  When I walk barefoot on rocks it hurts my feet.”

“Why?”

“Because the rocks have sharp edges.”

“Why?”

“Dan, hand me a gray rock,” I said. Some limestone rocks were among the brown creek gravels.  He held a rock in his little hand and I ran my finger along the rock’s edges. “These edges and this pointed end could hurt your foot if you stepped on this rock.”

“Gran! I need my shoes!”  Dan said.  He clinched the rock in his hand, turned, and walked up the steps and into the house.

Those few minutes of quiet, calm time had passed.  I helped Dan put on his shoes and together we explored the backyard.  And he asked why about everything.

On a warm spring day, Elaine and I sat on those same front porch steps and watched Husband, who wore a baseball cap, as he walked from our street mailbox toward us. “Gran, why Pop wear a hat?”  Elaine asked.

“To keep the sun out of his eyes,” I said.

“Why?”

“Pop likes to wear caps.”

“Why?”

“His head is bald and a cap keeps his head warm.”

“Why?”

“Pop doesn’t have hair on his head.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s the way God made him.”

Elaine was silent for a few seconds.  She rubbed her hand over the top of her head.  “I have hair.  Why?”

Most times my toddler-age Grands will ask questions as long as I answer.  But one night Dan didn’t.  After his mother and daddy had put him in bed for the night, he called, “Gran, come upstairs!”

I sat on the bed beside him, hummed a bedtime song, and patted his back.  “Why you pat my back?” Dan asked.“Because I love you, Dan,” I said and I thought that there are thousands of reasons why.

Dan didn’t ask why.  He said, “I love you, Gran.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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