Robbie's Question

Sometimes our kids ask questions that you just can't find the answer too.

On Saturday morning, we were packing up the car and readying ourselves for a weekend away. As we were tying our shoes, our son Robbie looked at my husband and I and said, "Why is life worth living if we are just going to die?"

Just a minute prior he was telling us Calvin and Hobbes' adventures then out comes this profound question. My son never ceases to amaze me.  The first thing that spurts out of one of our mouths was "well, you can't do anything if you are dead."  He didn't find that funny.  His eyes told me that he was yearning for a deeper, more tangible response.

We began talking to him about how life is about living in the present, and that everything we do or say is about enjoying the moment.  Visiting family, reading Calvin and Hobbes, playing basketball with his friends.  All these wonderful things you can do and experience while you are living.  And you can learn so much more while you are living.

"But you are just going to die anyway," he said.  "I don't get it."

Now, "I don't get it" has been his response to just about everything we explain to him. Its his way of not listening. Partially engaged in the conversation.  Not attempting to explore what is being said to him and let it develop into an understanding in his seven - year old mind. Or, its just his way to successfully drive his parents insane.

So we tried again: Was it love? Balance? Family? His Wii????

The question of why we are living is pondered by many throughout life. Its given as midterm exams/assignments in college, at a time when one's life is just beginning. One is openly exposed to the world with only your own defenses, learning about the concepts of life, not quite having personally experienced them to completely understand the affects of the consequences. Answering Robbie's question is a delicate, delightful yet complex question to be answered.

Life isn’t simply a project to be completed; it is an unknowable landscape to be explored.  And there are so many different ways to see how one would begin their path: One could admire the lone free agent who creates new worlds, or one could dissolve their independence, and become part of a larger purpose to propel that larger cause. One could practice yoga to connect to their deepest truth, and follow the path laid before them.

Just what IS life for?

Any answers to Robbie's question put in a friendly manner for a seven-year old mind are welcome.

Elisha Fernandes Simpson CKYT, RYT, aka laughing hearts yoga  teaches family, mommy and me, kids (ages 7 -18) yoga and organizes free bi-weekly yoga classes for people with breast cancer. Become a friend on Facebook's laughing hearts yoga page.

New classes:  laughing hearts yoga is going to Peekskill!! New classes for tweens, mommy and me and family begin week of March 6th at the beautiful Pilates on Hudson. Contact Elisha at info@laughingheartsyoga.com or 914 319 4010 for registration and suggestions about her blog

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Ded Yorick February 07, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Your son is quite the existential philosopher. You should refer him to Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus. The answer to your son’s question is contained in the question itself. Life is worth living precisely because we are going to die. Death gives life worth. If we were immortal, life would have no consequences and, therefore, no meaning. In other words, life is worth living in order to seek the answer to the question, Why is life worth living? Once you find the answer, you no longer have to live. However, once you have found the answer, you have determined to live. Selah. Of course, this only applies to mere mortals. Some, like myself, will live forever.
Peter Marengo February 08, 2012 at 03:49 AM
That's beautiful Elisha! I always thought that Robbie was a talented child. When we take a step back, life on earth is a marvel and a mystery - from the vastness of the universe to the smallest organism. While there are far too many questions than answers to the meaning of life, Robbie should continue to ask questions (especially to his college professors in 10 years!!!) and always keep the mind open and thinking. The answer will come to him.
Scott Croft February 08, 2012 at 02:33 PM
LIfe is worth living because it allows us to love, and be loved.
elaine February 10, 2012 at 12:44 AM
love is the answer to all questions. without it, we are nothing. but, with it, we are immortal.
Michael N. Hull February 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Scott: I'm in agreement with this sentiment and have offered an extension to the thought at: http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/just-what-is-life-for


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