Legacy, Life

Today I’m launching an idea that I’m hoping will become a recurring column here called Advice For My Daughter, outlining the most important things I’ve learned (and continue to learn) about life on this strange planet. I hope you enjoy it as well! -Josh


Dear daughter,

One of the most important things you can do in life is to ask questions.

And ask a LOT of them.

Many people don’t do this because they’re afraid of looking dumb. What they don’t realize, though, is that everyone is dumb.

Now, everyone is smart, too.

The problem is, most times we forget that ‘smart’ and ‘dumb’ are different for everyone. What’s easy for you might be really hard for me. What drains your energy might be one of my favorite things. This is just how the world is, but many people don’t see it, or have somehow forgotten about it.

A wise guy named Albert Einstein once said:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

You may be a fish or you may be a monkey, we don’t know yet. Everybody is wired a little differently, designed for different things. What we do know is that whatever you are, we will encourage you to be more of that.

Appreciate the gifts and talents of others, but never think you have to be exactly like them.

All you need is to be exactly like you.

Your mom and I will also urge you to understand and respect the other “animals” around you — and to be brave about asking them questions. Especially if you’re a fish, don’t ever be afraid of asking about trees.

Don’t be afraid to ask anything, really.


P.S. A side benefit of this is that most of the people around you will be glad you spoke up, because they were scared to — even though they were wondering the same thing you were.

P.P.S. While we’re on animals, please ignore that whole “curiosity killed the cat” business. That crap was just made up by silly people afraid of adventure.


10 Replies to “Advice for My Daughter: Ask Questions”

  1. Excellent advice for our children at any age, and very well put. Your daughter will do well in life as a fish or as a monkey.

  2. James P says:

    And some people will take your question as an affront to their vision of who they are. Their inability so see outside their own head is not a reflection of you.

  3. Rog Law says:

    Advice for your daughter…or anyone who wants to be an awesome person!

    Easy to forget. Asking questions and being genuinely interested is one of my favorite ways to get to know a person.

  4. Shari says:

    If you’re a fish, don’t be afraid to ask about trees….. Genius! :)

  5. Will you be my dad? ;)

    Kidding…mine has some pretty awesome wisdom of his own, but you just happen to have the ability to articulate clearly, concisely, and with a great deal of cleverness.

    I’ve always been a bit of a platypus, and the more I accept that and stop trying to be like the other animals around me, the better I get at doing all kinds of platypus-y things :).

  6. I LOVE the idea of writing to your daughter. Reminds me of the book, “The Boron Letters”. http://amzn.to/1fWKyd5
    Gary Halbert writes to his son from prison to teach him things about life.

    It’s amazing how important questions are to curiosity, and growth. GREAT post!

  7. Jake Meyer says:

    Using Albert Einstein’s quote is the best way to help your child understand the world. It is such a simple quote but it is so much. When you are you, you will be happier.

  8. I love all these comments. :-) Thanks so much, everyone!

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