Unaswerable Questions


I’m taking a little break from writing but wanted to share this post from my former blog, originally published 7/27/12. It’s funny how old posts have new meaning and this one does for me.

There’s a question that my two-year-old daughter asks all the time and it just cracks me up. It’s become a part of our family lingo and something we ask each other when there are just no answers. It’s come to stand for all the absurdity in our world and when we ask it, we laugh at its meaninglessness.

She asks, “Why does anybody do anything?”

My husband and I have no idea where she came up with this question or why she asks it but when she does, it makes us pause. We stop what we’re doing for a moment and ponder it. We don’t try to come up with an answer and that’s the beauty of the question. Since it has no answer, it frees us to not try so hard.

As an adult, I see the question as deep and meaningful. It has so many layers. Changing the emphasis on each word makes it a completely different question.

Why does anybody do anything?

Why does anybody do anything?

Why does anybody do anything?

And still there’s no answer. No point in trying to answer.

Now, this could be brushed aside as a silly question from a two-year-old but lately, she started asking a new question.

“How does anybody do anything?”

This one is tougher. I’m tempted to try to answer it. As a mother, I never want to leave her hanging. I want to help her solve the riddles of the world.

I read into her questions. Is she testing me? Is there a lesson I’m supposed to be teaching? Will she be disappointed when she finds out that I don’t have all the answers? Does she need to know that I had to Google interrogative pronouns?

If there is a lesson in this, it’s for me, not her. It has to do with being comfortable with unanswered questions and seeing the beauty in the unanswerable.


My kids’ sunflower finally bloomed!



13 thoughts on “Unaswerable Questions

  1. Sometimes, the question is the thing. I don’t believe all questions have to have answers; if they did, there wouldn’t be any mysteries left in the world. everyone has a path and the questions they face on their path are for them to answer through their terms, if there is an answer…


    1. Very true. I wouldn’t mind quick answers to questions that affect my daily life (like will this chicken last a few more days or should I cook it now) but the deep questions are the ones that make life worth living.


    1. They do! I describe my son as light as air but my daughter is all earth. She’s 3 now and she comes up with the most amazing observations. She makes me appreciate who I was as a child more. 🙂


  2. There is really nothing like the honesty of a kid. They just don’t have the filter of the right things to say or ask, or that a problem could be “too big”. That is the beauty of a child and why sometimes they just make you stop in your tracks. Beautiful, thoughtful post!


  3. Hi Karen,

    Funny thing, I had been blogging for only a few months at that point, and was still really, really inexperienced with blogging, liking, commenting, following, and everything else about blogging, but I totally remember this post! Until recently I had not even connected the dots that A Life Less Scripted and Karen are one in the same! I loved the post then, and I love it now, thanks for sharing! Hope you are hanging in there, and I look forward to your resuming your writing!


  4. Out of the mouths of babes…

    There are a lot of unanswerable questions, aren’t there? I confess, I try, try, try to find answers when sometimes I should let it go.

    Thanks for this. 🙂


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