Like many children, I grew up with the admonishment, “…just because I say so.” And grew up with the concept that I should believe everything that I read at face value. But like many growing kids, I began to question authority. The earliest I remember questioning was the adage: Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning. As a child who was almost always outside playing, and as one who could not hear thunder off in the distance, I was observant to the sky, clouds, wind, and other meteorological clues. And in Michigan, one only seems to need to wait five minutes…and the weather would change. I noticed that a red sky at night didn’t always bring delightful mornings, and red skies in the morning often blew over with no storms.
And I noticed that skies that turn green are really scary.
How do we reconcile our observations to those with expertise, or facts, on the topic? After all, we know the earth revolves around the sun even as we see sunrises and sunsets.
How do we find out what is puzzling our children the most? What are some of the most pressing questions do they have about our climate, habitat, or society?
How can children be encouraged to delve into a topic that piques them? Instead of reading a variety of books of their “levels,” they could read, scan, or listen to a wide variety of levels on their query.
And what kind of action do our children want to pursue? Do they want to explore more? Or do they want to take up justice work? And how do we follow their lead?