This is not a treasure I have learned and been keeping to myself for years, it didn’t come to me in a philosophical epiphany, but rather in a smart-mouth aside between myself and a high school teacher who became one of my role models.
Tall, husky, and tattooed Mr. Pohl handed me one of the school’s expensive cameras, “Go take the pictures needed for the administration page and get the basketball page’s season stats.”
“Why should I?” I replied, being a smart-mouth just to be difficult. Even though I was not a part of the year book staff, I was going to do what he asked in the end.
“Do you say that to all the people that tell you to do something?” he shot back. I stood there stunned, not sure if he was reprimanding me or if it was a serious question. “You should,” he continued, “always question everything – no matter what.”
His words still ring in my head to this day. To question means to not accept the face value that anyone will give you. With the questions you ask, you will gain the knowledge needed to not be the blind sheep following the shepherd. To accept whatever a person says – whether that person is an equal or a “superior” – inhibits a person’s freedom and choice. Not questioning what people say or ask of you limits your freedom and that in itself is where a person’s demise can be seen.
When a question is asked then an answer must follow; and if no one will provide the answer, then it is your duty – and very much your right – to seek it out for yourself. This is where the knowledge is gained, found, and used. Once that knowledge is with you, no person can take it away. And with this artillery to use throughout a person’s life, he can break through barriers that are placed to stop independent thinking and hurtle the obstacles that have stopped people because they never asked where the key to the locked door is. Eleanor Roosevelt once said that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If you do not question, then you are allowing them to take you as a blind sheep, to be oblivious to your surroundings, and wear the veil that will obscure the true picture before you. My teacher asked me to go take a few pictures and report some facts, but I never did take the camera and go about my merry, oblivious way. It was not my obligation to perform the task; I was not receiving a grade for it like the students in the year book class were. If I did do the task, I was doing it because someone else didn’t, and that person would receive that grade while I wasted my time. Question for the knowledge and for your own good. If you question, you will not let others see you as inferior. If you question, you will not be led off of the cliff with the rest of the blind herd.