I Dont Know

Today I was confronted again with the often-repeated phrase “I don’t know”. Such an easy, apathetic and lazy excuse for an answer. Once said, it can completely kill a conversation and leave the other person feeling like you are either dumb or disinterested.  I’m not saying there is never a time where it can be safely said. What I am saying is that I believe we, as a society, too often use it as a crutch so as not to give too much thought to something we’d rather not be bothered with.  I am 100% guilty of this, most especially when answering questions such as “Why are some birds brown, others black and others red, yellow, blue….?” Or “If God is in everything, are we killing a piece of God every time we kill a bug?”

I realized that it had become a problem for me recently when my 6-year-old son started prefacing his questions to me with “I know you’re going to say you don’t know, but…..”.  It forced me to take a look at why I was so quick to avoid any kind of real thought to his questions and also to evaluate how I felt when others give me the same excuse/response.

What should we do about blah blah blah?

I don’t know.

Can I go [insert place here] on [insert day here]?

I don’t know.

How do you feel?

I don’t know.

Do you think we can blah blah blah?

I don’t know.

Where should we go from here?

I don’t know.

How was the universe created?

I don’t know.

 These are all questions I have posed or have had posed to me that resulted in that very answer.  What if that little three-word phrase didn’t exist in that context?  What if we could no longer use it to answer questions about our feelings and thoughts or even straight facts? We might replace the answers with:

What should we do about blah blah blah?

Let’s brainstorm and figure it out together!

Can I go [insert place here] on [insert day here]?

Let’s look at the calendar and see if that will work.

How do you feel?

I feel [insert feeling here] OR I need more time to think about that.

Do you think we can blah blah blah?

Of course we can!  Let’s figure out how.

Where should we go from here?

Well that depends, where do we see ourselves at the end?

How was the universe created?

Let’s Google it!

It’s almost just as easy to come up with a thought -out, acceptable answer in a very short amount of time, as it is to say I don’t know. An answer that gives you personal power and leaves the other person feeling validated.  With every “ I don’t know” we throw around, we relinquish our creative power and inner knowledge.  We give away the gift of looking within to hear our truth and set it free and we give away the knowledge that could be incurred by learning something new.  Really people, it’s all within you and what’s not, we have the all-knowing Internet for.  Let’s challenge ourselves to be less lazy and more caring; both of ourselves and of the people we interact with by giving a bit more thought before using that catchall phrase.

“When you reach the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.”  ~ Kahlil Gibran

6 thoughts on “I Dont Know

  1. So true, we are constantly telling our teens that “I don’t know” isn’t an appropriate response when we ask them things. My husband is always telling them how it appears like they are just trying to dismiss us when they answer that way. Thanks for sharing your feelings on the “I don’t know” dilemma.

  2. So true. Too often we skate along the surface of language and thought and engagement instead of digging deeper. Thanks for the reminder. And welcome to blogging! It is so nice to visit this little space of yours.

  3. I encountered this with my youngest and did as you have done…Took along look at how I was responding. Turned around and my daughter became the constant adventurer to search out with me and she still to this day (she is eighteen) starts so many conversations with “Did you know…?” Quite an awesome transformation!

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