As I see more and more youngsters in the country jailed because they dared question, I remember an episode involving my own daughter, who decided to voice her protest. No, it wasn’t about climate change or farmers protests, but something she felt her priest hadn’t handled well. She wrote a polite letter to him disagreeing with him.

 “How dare you!” was his retort.

Which actually mirrored the statement, “Do you know who I am?”

Or, “Do you know how small you are, compared to me?”

Something I loved seeing when I visited family in the US, was how children would saunter into a sitting room, where their parents were having a discussion with visitors who had dropped in, were not shooed away, but would even add to the conversation. I do agree, as an Indian, I sometimes found it close to insolence, till I realized the children were learning to think, learning to question, and that the elders were also learning to handle them with care.

It was a learning process, both ways.

Todays youth of our country are no more the subdued, finger on the lips of yore.

They have been taught, not necessarily in schools or classrooms, but through linking to the world through the world wide web, to think deep and question. It’s time we also got rid of our ‘How dare you reaction!”

And why not?

All of us want to bring up our children as thinkers, because today in a world of ‘start up billionaires’ whose ideas are revolutionizing the earth and making money for them, thinking plays a major role, and with thinking comes questioning.

Do we then turn to the one who questions and ask, “How dare you ask?”

The same mind which could make them successes, questions old systems and values.

We need to address these questions with gentleness. Understand their methods of questioning, which might sound insolent, are actually, dramatic reactions to ascertain the truth.

Let us address the question, and not the questioner.

Stop shooting the messenger, like this priest did to my daughter, and we are doing to the youth of our nation.

Parents who have taught their family to think should smile with joy when children question them, because it’s due to them, their allowance of freedom to think, that this child of theirs questions.

There should be rejoicing when this happens, and a toast should be raised to such parents and leaders! Not the putting of them in jail, and asking, “How dare you?”

Because what the world then sees is an insecure parent, priest or political leader!

And my final thought; since all our questions about our faith, finds patient answers in the holy scriptures, do we ever find a God shouting, “How dare you?”

Then how dare we?

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