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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

GUEST OPINION - Asking questions

Thursday, January 10, 2002

I'm a naturally curious human being. I see a police car and I wonder who is being chased.

I hear that someone got engaged and I'm curious about how he proposed.

In general, I like to know what's going on and why. I'm sure I was one of those kids who continually asked her parents "why?"

Why does our television set work? Why aren't birds around in the wintertime? Where do people go when they die?

I was full of questions. But that didn't make me an unusual child. I'm sure many parents are faced with a series of "why" questions throughout their child's life.

Often the answer is "because I said so." Other times, "Just because."

But lucky for me, I had parents who were willing to try to answer my questions whenever they could. (I think maybe after repeated questioning on the same subjects, they decided "just because" wasn't going to work.)

But now that I'm grown up, my questions haven't disappeared. I have a college education, I've read the Bible and I've conversed with philosophers. But I still have questions. Yes, many of you are thinking "Of course you have questions, you ask questions for a living."

When was the University of Okoboji formed? What are the hours of a new business? How did the debate team do last week? These are life's simpler questions. You ask the right person and you get the answers. But many times adult questions are more difficult to answer: Where did all of our ethical standards come from? Why do people have to die at Christmas time? What do people in general really want out of life? These aren't simple childhood questions.

And the answers are harder to find. And often the answers differ depending on the person.

So which way is right? I don't know, it depends on the person you ask, I suppose. Yes, there are clear cut answers to some of life's questions. But often, the diversity of answers proves that sometimes, there really are no clear cut answers. I watched a Santa movie recently that ended with St. Nick deciding his naughty and nice categories were too clear cut. He decided that sometimes, life's gray areas can't be made black and white. And neither can the answers to many of life's difficult questions. Life isn't clear cut. Life's answers aren't always available. But I'm realizing that part of life's voyage is asking the hard to answer questions. And that the answer sometimes really is "Just because."

Anitra Wolf is a native of Alta and serves as editor for the Pilot's sister newspaper, the Dickinson County News.