My daughter, Amelia, says sometimes questions are hard to ask because they might make you sound stupid.
Her little sister says the thing about questions is that if you don’t answer the person asking the first time, they’ll keep pestering you until you do. And that’s what she does: harangue me until I come up with a satisfactory answer to whatever it is she needs to know. Now.
I think their responses perfectly illustrate the difference between them: my eldest is an angst-ridden, self-conscious teenager, worried the world will dismiss her lest she say the wrong thing. My youngest – happily for her – is still too little to know that’s what people sometimes do: dismiss you for the things you say, or the questions you ask.
Their mother is mostly too old to care what people think of her. But she does care that she didn’t ask enough questions when she was younger.
Did you? Think about it.