I’ll never forget hearing Mrs. Melnick, my 7th grade English teacher, ask, “Question, Marc?” I blurted, “No, Mrs. Melnick, I don’t have a question.” I wondered why so many of my classmates chuckled at my response.
The humor was in the fact that Mrs. Melnick, while reviewing punctuation, was referring to the punctuation mark indicating an interrogative clause or phrase. Caught day dreaming, I thought Mrs. Melnick was asking if I didn’t understand something she had said.
Embedded in my long-term memory, that moment forever reminds me of the nickname given to me by many of my teachers, Questions. I was not shy about asking questions.
If I did not understand, then I asked why? If I needed clarity, I asked when? If it didn’t make sense, I needed to find out how? Who, what, when, where, why and how? I was polite and respectful, raising my hand in class, or taking advantage of office hours. This is how I learned. This how I grew.
My significance was directly linked to my inquisitive mind. I felt fulfilled when asking questions, as I benefited and usually someone else did too. By asking, I was also contributing to the greater good. To me, it seemed liked the right thing to do.
Thirty-seven years after the “Mrs. Melnick Moment”, I still have that inquisitive spirit. And now, I have a deeper understanding of why I am so secure in questioning everything for the greater good. My security is derived from the source of love I crave the most. That source of love unconsciously teaches me how to be significant and loved by them. What is the source of love? At risk of sounding cliché, it’s God’s love.
Because I crave God’s love most, I am better able to demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control to others. What I stand for emanates from that baseline.
To me, questioning the status quo serves the greater good because it flushes out hidden agendas, ego, and ulterior motives. Questions that reveal unhealthy conformity are healthy. There are absolute rights and wrongs, and I am pleased to be among their defenders. I am happy to cede control because I humbly accept I’m ultimately not in control.
I stand for doing the right thing with God’s love and grace as my baseline. I am able to serve others by extending the same love and grace. Questions are useful tools that enable me to gain clarity in serving others. Everyone needs to feel significant. Everyone needs to feel connection and love. Everyone needs to grow. Everyone needs to contribute.
Questions help me help others discover who they want to be. Mrs. Melnick, thank you for the reminder. I am forever grateful.