The Power in Questioning
I find myself having a doubting and/or questioning mind.
Conceivably, these two minds are quite similar.
But of course there are a few slight differences, which I want to speak about today.
Since I was a little girl one of my favorite words was "why".
On the plus side, it left me always learning new things, which is invigorating.
But on the downside, I found this questioning mind could also transform into a doubting voice.
To which I began to wonder, "why do I seem to know so little in comparison to everyone around me who seems capable of spouting out statements like a garden hose in the backyard on a hot summer day?!"
I was left feeling if I didn’t finish a sentence with a period, then it wasn’t legitimate.
So I began pushing myself to make more statements.
To try on this 'different style coat'.
But it didn’t work. It hasn’t been working.
The result was me feeling as if I was making statements here and there without any foundation. And in between each statement, I only seemed to fall deeper into the pit of self-doubt.
It continued for some time, and still I catch myself being pulled along for the pure excitement of the ride. But at some point, my stomach starts to get sick from all the ups and downs and rounds and rounds, and eventually I arrive at a point to say, “Something is not right.”
“I know I wonder and I know I question, but I cannot be the only one.
And can it really be that the unknown and uncertainty is such a bad thing?
Perhaps it is only bad when we don’t admit that uncertainty is there.”
Have you ever heard of those questions in English which end with the intonation going down instead of up?
WARNING! I am going to disperse for a moment into my English Teacher Persona and explain a bit of English grammar to you now.
Normally in English when we want to ask a question verbally, we do so by bring the tone of voice a bit higher at the end of the sentence. Therefore, leaving the sentence sounding open. To which, someone else feels the inclination to answer. At which point, we feel a conclusion has been made.
It’s the same as in a musical phrase which doesn't return to the tonic chord.
BUT, what I recently learned within my English Teaching Extravaganzas, is that there is a question form called Tag Questions where you make a statement and add a short tag at the end which “we use to find out information or check information that we already have”.
And with these Tag Questions one does not have to end with the rising questioning intonation, but instead can finish the sentence with the falling statement intonation.
For example (please read out loud two times, once with a rising intonation and once with a falling intonation):
“As long as a human being finds time to question and reflect they will live a happy life, won’t they?”
It creates a different meaning or connotation, doesn't it? (said with a falling intonation.)
So, my thought for the day….
Questions are not always just questions but another form of statements which encourage a reflective response from the listeners.
A question is not always a doubt and should not always be seen as one.
In fact, a question allows room for growth and development, for discussion, and perhaps, at times, can even be more honest and rich than a statement.
Yet, the challenge of a questioner today, is how to stay confident in one's questions and questioning in a society that adores statements, isn’t it?