Camille - Moraga, California
Entered on January 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: question
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As a babysitter, I’ve been exposed to the many different types of children. From the most spoiled to the most polite, each kid had a “special something.” The most memorable was a little boy named Christopher. Chris, who was only four years old, would continuously ask questions, most of them beginning with the word, “why.” Although this was humorous and cute (even annoying after a certain point), the repetitive inquires made me realize Chris’ true purpose. He was not just looking for an answer. He was practicing a talent that would guide him through his life. And so I realized that questions are the gateway to a more enlightened life.

Questions, as I have come to notice, play an important role in my daily life. If there were no questions, there would be no point in attending school. School is an institution designed for questions. Teachers, tests, and quizzes are just collections of questions to assess one’s knowledge. Students, like me, ask questions to better comprehend a subject, and inevitably, to better understand life. Even the social aspects of school (chatting and gossiping with friends) mainly consist of questions, which lead to a sense of awareness and security (security implying fitting into the norms of teenage life). I always want to know who’s going out with whom!

The need for questions is even more necessary in a global aspect. As the world seemingly becomes more evil and corrupt, it is necessary to ask questions to uncover the full truth of an event. Coming from a very liberal family, it amazes me how corrupt some of the world governments have become. Even more amazing to me are those who ask no questions of their government, religion, or way of life. I see people around me declaring the war we’re in is “good”, but without any evidence why. I believe these people will soon find themselves in a state of ignorance, and then, a state of sorrow and regret of their incompetence. But for me, those who have asked questions have become the greatest figures in history. Had Lincoln not questioned the morality of slavery, many might still be bound to masters. Had Susan B. Anthony not questioned a woman’s place in society, equal rights might not exist. And if Nelson Mandela had not questioned the injustices of apartheid, South Africa might still be racially divided. The list of great individuals continues, but these examples helped me to believe in the benefit of questioning for the good of mankind.

I appreciate how brilliant Chris truly was. Although he was so young, and completely oblivious to the power of his inquiries, Chris was undoubtedly looking for answers to his being. But paradoxically, it wasn’t the answers that were giving him unknowing enlightenment, but rather, it was the power of his questions. As the great French playwright, Eugene Ionesco, so perfectly states, “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”