from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
by Bill Martin
illustrated by Eric Carle
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1983
How do we find our about anything? Ask a question.
How do we learn what our best friend is thinking about? Ask a question.
How do we find our way when we’re lost? Ask a question.
Is the newest best-seller worth my time?
What’s the weather like where I’m planning my vacation?
Which flowers will grow best in my garden?
Before I retired, most of my day (besides story time) was spent answering questions. Lots of times, people did not form good questions. If I wanted to give a good answer, I had to ask questions, sometimes lots of questions.
And if I asked the wrong question, I might (probably) give wrong information.
The same principle is at work at home. Sometimes, if my husband is going out, I’ll ask him when he expects to be home. What I really want to know is what time he wants to eat dinner.
I can assume he’s planning on being home in time for dinner, but if the answer I get is 4:00 or 3:00, I’ll need to ask another question. If I had asked the right question “What time do you want to eat dinner?” I would have gotten, right off the bat, the information I needed to be able to organize my own afternoon.
Of course, I could say, “Let’s eat out,” and avoid the entire issue.
We saw (heard) many examples of answer-avoidance a couple of weeks ago. It really doesn’t matter who asks the questions. It could even be the FBI! The principle is the same. Ask the wrong questions, get the wrong answers.
1. Answering a question with another question deflects focus from the answerer back to the questioner. “I don’t have a drinking problem. Do you?”
2. Answering a different question is an effective way to change the subject. “Do you want him in the room?” “He already provided sworn testimony.” Also, not answering accomplishes the same thing.
3. Repeating a question or just repeating a phrase can make even a big lie sound true. It usually adds confusion to an already confusing conversation. “I’m innocent” even though a hearing is very different from a trial.
Most politicians, even the good ones, (and I think we still have some of those) have a knack for using avoidance techniques. And they practice them for good or, more often ill.
But since when is a judge a politician? Not to say a judge is not allowed to have an opinion, but surely, he or she should have the good sense to be impartial and honest, or at least appear so.
-—stay curious! and please vote!