Anyone with ready access to a four-year old child will tell you that the most difficult of all questions is “Why?”
“Grandad*, why do I see the fireworks before I hear them?”
“Well, at 299,792 kilometres per second, light travels much faster than sound and so reaches you much sooner.”
It is that follow-up ‘Why?’ that kills you.
And if you try to find a way to bluff it through: “Well, something has to be the fastest thing of all doesn’t it?” you will face another “Why?”
“Well, if I’m honest, I don’t really know.”
It’s just a mercy that God did not have a four-year old bouncing around his ankles when he was creating the Earth. “Behold, I will now separate the land from the sea.”
“Well, I need somewhere dry to build the garden.”
“Well, this human thing I’ve created lives on the land, but drowns in the water.”
I think it would not be too long before God started to question his claim to be all-knowing. It is almost certain that four-year olds are here simply to ensure that the rest of us don’t get cocky. There are certain fundamentals that are not to be questioned, but nobody fools the average toddler and it is seriously frowned upon to fall back upon the, “It just is, that’s why” option too early.
When you are four, you need to know everything, you need to understand everything. It takes many years experience before you learn that you know nothing and understand even less. Such things as you do need to know are less global in scale, but no less essential to existence. Why is coffee never quite hot enough, until you spill it in your crotch? Why do you never get lost unless you are absolutely certain of where you are heading? Why is everything exactly the right size, until you have to fit it?
Some things are, inevitably, more age specific. Why, for instance, can I no longer leave my car square in a parking space at the first attempt? Why did anyone ever think that button flies were a good idea? Why would anyone, even for the fleetingliest of seconds, ever think that wearing a toupee is preferable to going bald? I no longer worry about why things work as they do, but only about when they will cease to do so properly.
The four-year old brain will never accept that there are things that it will never know, that there are some things that it is best to never know. It doesn’t know the answer and it wants to know why it doesn’t know the answer. And to the four year old that is in possession of the brain, grandad is almost certainly the very oldest thing they know and, therefore, should know everything – claiming to be terminally stupid will just not wash (I know, I’ve tried it) – and if you don’t know the answers, they will most definitely want to know why.
*Family spelling and I don’t care what spellcheck says, I’m not changing it!