learning through questions

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If you are a parent or spend time with young children I’m sure you can relate when I say, "Wow, kids ask a ton of questions, like, a TON of questions!" The remarkable thing is that they do so, all the time, everywhere, throughout the day and for some reason especially at bedtime (though I’m starting to become wise to their crafty delay tactics). Between my two boys, they often take a tag team approach—one asks the initial question, then the other chimes in with a follow-on query. Take for example, a recent dialogue during lunch:

AVERY: Why did the squirrels eat all the apples on our tree?
ME: Well, squirrels have to eat, just like you. They find their food outside, in places like our apple tree.
AVERY: But why doesn't the squirrel's mommy make them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so we can have our apples?
DORIAN: I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Do you like them too, Mommy?
ME: Yes, Dorian. Avery—squirrels can't really make sandwiches, that's why they look for nuts and fruit. Since our apple tree is there, they found the apples. Maybe a mommy squirrel was finding food for her baby squirrel.
DORIAN: Where do baby squirrels come from?
ME: Where's Daddy, boys?

If I step back, I can see that the seemingly never ending series of “Why? But why? How come?” is actually a very important part of kids' learning, development and retention. One can practically hear the gears turning in their heads as they process things from multiple angles.

Shifting to my work with storytelling with data—I notice that you have a lot of questions as well. Your queries come to me through many different channels—during workshops, after speaking engagements, via email, TwitterLinkedIn, Facebook & Instagram, in comments on my blog and YouTube channel. I enjoy engaging on these questions because I know this helps with the learning process and ultimately helps you be more effective and confident telling your stories with data. I also know that if someone takes the time to ask a question, there’s a good chance someone else was pondering the same thing.

My limited bandwidth makes it challenging to answer every single inquiry (and I'm sure I've missed some over time), so I’m excited to launch a new forum for answering a number of your questions each month. I'll be doing so through a novel medium for me—a podcast. I love podcasts because you can listen (and learn!) almost anywhere—on your morning run, during your daily commute, or while lounging at home. The SWD team will scour the various channels I mentioned for posted inquiries, but you can jump ahead of those lines by simply emailing your question to us at: askcole@storytellingwithdata.com. We’re recording our first ask cole podcast now to be aired soon, so submit the questions that are top of mind and will help you learn and make progress with your work.

...and for now, if we could just hold off on the squirrel chatter, that’d be great!

Looking forward to hearing from you!