• Oliver Messner

...But Why?

Kids are amazing little creatures, that complete us on so many different levels and make life worth living.... at least that's the romantic version of it.

In some ways this sentiment holds true but the reality of the matter is that, I hate to admit, some days they just get on my nerves. It's just one of those things I imagine almost all parents have to get used to. It doesn't mean I'm a bad father, rather a human being that has certain limits to the amount of abuse his tolerance can endure.

One of the most irritating things comes in the form of one simple little question, " But why? ". It seems innocent enough and I do understand that children are inquisitive by nature but when that question pops up every other second while I'm explaining something to my kids, it can become real old, real quick. It's almost guaranteed to pop up after simple, mundane, self explanatory things such as, " Don't touch that plate, don't play with my wallet, please don't throw that in my face ".

It's the times when I'm trying to be smart and teach the kids something, when it usually goes wrong. The best ones are when I get asked to explain things that are more technical and involved. This can be on any topic possible, at any given time. The questions are as varied and diverse as there are grains of sand on a beach and, although some might appear to be similar, they are each varied and different upon closer inspection.


So I, like every parent, will get asked why it rains, or snows or hails? Why do cars need petrol, batteries, lights or number plates? Why can birds fly, how can fish breath under water, what is the largest, slowest, fastest, oldest animal and why can I sometimes see the moon during daylight. The list goes on and on forever, as it should but no matter how intricate, informative and knowledgeable my answer, ( and I really do try to give them as much information as possible ), it usually gets followed up with a now almost mandatory, " But why"?


This is often as funny as it is frustrating and I see how far I can get before I run out of answers or have to resort to consulting the all knowing doctor Google PhD.

It's always great to answer the kids questions and it feels good being able to answer one of the more difficult ones correctly without having to resort to the internet. Of course there are times when the entire process gets out of hand and by the time ' but why ' has come around for the tenth time I take a short cut. This comes in the form of me making up a story on whatever the topic is and running with it. These are usually defined by heavy influences from the brothers Grimm and the disc world series. This derails the train of thought away from the previous question, interrupts the infinite loop I seem to be stuck in and gets the kids laughing. I then also get the standard head shake of disapproval from my wife.

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