Conversations With A Curious 4-Year-Old


One of the coolest things about being a parent is how every day brings new experiences as children grow.

For our 10-month-old, that means watching him learn about fundamental things like gravity, his reflection, and what things are and are not edible.

For our 4-year-old, that means a seemingly endless – often exhausting – stream of questions. He wants to understand EVERYTHING. And he has no problem asking and clarifying and rephrasing until his curiosity is satisfied.

As an introvert  who thrives on moments of calm silence, this is one of the hardest things about being Josiah’s dad. If there’s a quiet moment, you can count on him to break the silence with a question. In other words, if Josiah is around, you’re never really ‘off’.  This includes time spent driving, walking, bike riding, cooking dinner, eating dinner, getting ready for bed, taking baths… Something I think I can hear the wheels in his head spinning.

I can’t hold a grudge for this, though. Who could fault a kid for being curious?

Lately, his questions have been down-right entertaining, if not fascinating. He’s piecing together things that I didn’t even care about understanding until I was MUCH older.

Half a year ago, I posted a few fun conversations I’ve had with the kids. 

Here are the cliff notes from a few of our recent – completely un-coerced or coached – conversations:


Josiah: Dad, if mom is older than you, then why are you taller?

Me: <10,000-foot overview of DNA/genes/heredity>

Josiah: Oooh! I get it, so Kharis has DNA just like mom, and I have DNA just like you.

Me: No, you’ll both be half like daddy and half like momma, kind of…

Josiah: No dad – I grew in Momma’s belly, so I have her DNA. I’m going to look just like here.

Me: Actually, you have her DNA and my DNA

Josiah: Wait – then how does a baby get the daddy’s DNA?

Me: Hey look! It’s raining! 


Josiah: Dad, can anything break steel?

Me: Do you mean, is anything stronger than steel?

Josiah: I mean, can anything break steel?

Me: <try to explain this – talk about the twin towers and how force + heat + time broke steel>

Josiah (picks up a banana): So can I heat up a banana so hot that it will melt steel?

Me: Well, it would burn up first

Josiah: but what if it didn’t? What if there’s a banana that can get so hot that it can melt steel?

Me: Then it probably wouldn’t be a banana.

Josiah: Then what would it be? Could I eat it?


Josiah (while listening to John Mayer sing metaphorically about gravity): Where is gravity? I mean, I know how it works, but WHERE is it?

Me: <explain again the basics of gravity – everything pulls on everything and in that way, the earth holds everything down>

Josiah: So gravity is everywhere?

Me: Pretty much.

Josiah: Does gravity pull on the moon?

Me: yep! 

Josiah: Is that why the moon doesn’t fly away?

Me: yep. Kind of. AND, the moon pulls on the earth too. <tides, etc>

Josiah: What would happen if the earth let go of the moon and it flew away?

Me: Uhhh… I really don’t know.