The Importance of Questions
Anyone who has been around a young child for even a few minutes will affirm that children love to ask questions. I recently read that, on average, a child might ask a parent as many as 100 questions a day – which adds up to an amazing 40,000 questions by the time they are 5 years old!
Asking questions doesn’t stop at age 5, although values, experience, education and other social factors can shape our natural curiosity and how we see the world. In fact, the sense of curiosity that drives all those “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions serves a critically important function in adult life. Without curiosity there is little room for learning – and lifetime learning is key to success in our personal as well as professional lives. Organizations that nurture a culture of focused inquiry enjoy greater motivation, innovation, and efficiencies. Quite simply, both team member satisfaction and operational performance scores go up.
In healthcare, having the desire to learn more (curiosity) and understand someone else’s experience or feelings (empathy) are especially vital. In our shared Mission to extend God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing, both curiosity and empathy can assist every member of our team as we seek to understand the cultural backgrounds, values, and priorities of those we serve and also those we work alongside. Our desire to learn and understand others more fully – who they are and what they do – strengthens our connections and capacity to serve.
Albert Einstein once wrote, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.” ("Old Man's Advice to Youth: 'Never Lose a Holy Curiosity,'" LIFE Magazine, May 2, 1955, p. 64)
As we work side-by-side to serve our community, what are the questions that we should be asking to best support hope, healing and total well-being? How can we listen and respond to others’ questions in a way that helps us understand each other and our work? Basically, how can we connect with and understand one another better?
These are the questions I hope to explore with you as we work together to provide compassionate, high-quality service to every person, every time.