Fatherhood Statements

Women in Engineering Newsletter

Father’s Day 2006
Sunday 3rd  September

But Why...?

Valerie Maxville

But why…? A simple question that has driven many a parent close to crazy, but it is also an open door to learning and discussion. When kids ask why, they are not looking for a short answer, especially if they continue to ask why. This is the time to sit down and explain how things work and interact, where what they want to know is the bigger picture. Your answers let them shift from observation to understanding, and perhaps to abstraction of ideas that can be applied elsewhere.


Consider two conversations with Mr Six…


The water in the pot had boiled (lid on) and the pasta had been added...
“Mummy, why don’t you put the lid back on?”
“OK, can you see the water in the pot and how high it is?”
"What do you think will happen if I put the lid on?”
The lid is put on and the water bubbles higher and higher – ready to overflow.
“Putting the lid on made things hotter inside, just like when you are under a blanket, and then the water boils over.”
Quiet contemplation follows and his curiosity is satisfied.
Walking from the park we pass some powerlines that “turn” at the end of the street.
“Has this got lightning in it?”, he asks, pointing to a cable that supports the pole.
“No, but if you look over here, you’ll see another one. Look up at the power lines… do you see they go that way and that way?”
“Well, those lines pull the pole in those directions, so these cables stop the pole from being pulled over”.
A week later, direction of forces was used by Mr Six to prove who was pushing the table during dinner. A simple conversation, some new rules, and he is more equipped to analyse the world (and win an argument with his sister).

Challenge yourself to explain the complexities of the world to your children – you'll see the wonder of enlightenment and may even gain a new perspective on things you take for granted.


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