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The Known and The Unknown World

November 15, 2012 - Jen Zbozny
Eve often asks about the size of things. She wants to know what's higher than the sky and how much water is in the ocean. I think this is a process of working out where her place is in the world. In a way it's how kids grasp the idea of boundaries. How far are they allowed to go versus how far anyone might be able to go and what else is out there? In Latin, the expression Terra Incognita means unknown land. I have often thought it would be fun to write a children's book and name the inquisitive main character Tara Incognita.

This kind of observing and questioning is a remarkable approach to the universe and one I try to emulate when I can. It tends to bring terrific realizations and great conversations. For instance, these questions caused us to wonder the other day, "how hot can the oven get and how cold can it become in the freezer?" That led to a wonderful exchange where we had to explore how temperatures can be measured and also about how living things like people and pets have temperatures too. It's easy to see how that led us into an infinite number of possible conversations and questions. It made a whole nother huge part of the world open up like some kind of magic door. Her world just got bigger because now there are so many more things to know. At the same time, it became smaller because that territory used to be unknown and now it's hers to explore. A new part of the map can be filled in.

In one of my very first posts I wrote about how pregnancy and giving birth causes us to expand and contract in remarkable ways. Though that experience is years behind me, Eve's questions make me realize that our children are always expanding and contracting in their questioning ways and in their growing. It inspires me to continue to keep a step or two ahead so as a parent, I can continue to be a resourceful and hopefully accurate, ambassador to the universe.

I wonder what your children are asking about today. I wonder where their worlds will find you exploring with them. I hope you'll send us a postcard from your journey. I'm sure as long as they're asking questions, you'll fare well.


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