Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Why? A Playlet with Four Scenelets


Scenelet One: Narrator, Parent, Little Kid

Scenelet Two: Narrator, Pediatrician, Parent, Little Kid

Scenelet Three: Narrator, Adult, UU Minister

Scenelet Four: Narrator, Old Scientist, Old Scientist's Young Friend


Narrator: A Parent and a Little Kid were at the beach on a nice summer day.

Parent: Look at the sky! It's just as blue as can be! It's a perfect day.

Little Kid: Why?

Parent: Because we won't get wet.

Little Kid: Are we going to swim?

Parent: Sure. That's why we're here.

Little Kid: Why?

Parent: Because it's such a hot day. It will feel good to get wet.

Little Kid: Why?

Parent: Because it will!

Parent: Goodness, the sky is getting dark. I think we'd better go.

Little Kid: Why?

Parent: Because it's going to rain. We might get all wet and yucky. Come on, let's go.

Little Kid: Why?

Parent: Because.

Little Kid: Because why?


Narrator: So the Parent and the Little Kid went home.


Narrator: The Little Kid kept asking so many questions that the Parent was getting very flustered. The Parent made an immediate appointment with the Little Kid's Pediatrician.

Pediatrician: (to Parent) Good morning. What can I do for you?

Parent: The Little Kid never seems to say anything except why and what and when and who and where. I don't think that's normal and it's getting really aggravating! And I'm concerned!

Pediatrician: Well let's have a look. (To Little Kid.) Hi, there, Little Kid. What's the story here? What seems to be going on?

Little Kid: When?

Pediatrician: Anytime. Does anything feel strange? Hurt?

Little Kid: Where?

Pediatrician: Anywhere.

Little Kid: Why?

Narrator: At this point the Pediatrician turned to the Parent and smiled.

Pediatrician: I think everything is just fine. Young children ask a lot of questions, that's all.

Parent: Why?

Pediatrician: One reason is that they are curious. The world is new to them, and they want to know how it works. Also, questions are a child’s way of making conversation. They don’t have a whole lot to say, but they want to keep talking because that is what other people do. So they ask a lot of questions. I’m sure things will begin to change very soon. Then the Little Kid will say a lot more, and some of it may be harder to hear than the questions.

Parent: Why?

Pediatrician: Kids grow up, that's all.

Parent: When?

Pediatrician: I can't tell you that. It differs from kid to kid.

Parent: How?

Pediatrician: Oh-oh. I think the Little Kid's questions may be contagious.

Parent and Little Kid (together): Why?

Narrator: That's enough for now.


Narrator: The Pediatrician was right. The Little Kid did grow up, and eventually became both an adult and a scientist. One day the Adult who used to be the Little Kid went to talk with a Unitarian Universalist minister.

Minister: Hi, there, Adult. What's on your mind today?

Adult: Questions. All the time I have questions. At work. At home. In worship. On vacation. Questions.

Minister: Any particular kind of questions?

Adult: Big questions. Like why do I exist? Why did my friend have to die at such a young age? Why doesn't my UU congregation have all the answers?

Minister: Because we cannot know for sure the answers to big questions like the ones you just asked.

Adult: So why come here, if you aren't going to give me answers?

Minister: UU congregations and ministers don't have all the answers to big questions. But we do have responses.

Adult: Responses? I don't get it.

Minister: Responses are ideas about the big questions that help us understand life and its meaning. UU responses help us all to think about the mysteries of life and death, the mysteries of everything.

Adult: To think about the mysteries but not to solve them?

Minister: That's right. And that's okay with me. I think the mystery is what makes life life. I think it is wonderful. There will always be big questions and there will always be mystery.

Adult: Maybe you are right. But I have to go to work now. Thanks for your time.

Minister: You are very welcome. Merry mystery and happy questioning.

Narrator: So the Adult went off to work.


Narrator: The Adult who used to be the Little Kid went off to work. In fact the Adult who used to be the Little Kid went off to work in a science laboratory over and over again, for many, many years. After a few decades, the Adult turned into the Old Scientist, and the Old Scientist kept right on working. Sometimes the Old Scientist's Young Friend worried about that.

Young Friend: How come you keep working, Old Scientist? You are old and deserve some rest.

Old Scientist: Because I have been trying to answer the same question for decades, and I cannot rest until I find the answer.

Old Scientist: The question is: What happens when you combine a thingamadoojit with a whatsamajig?

Young Friend. Oh. Well, good luck with that.

Narrator: Then one day, success!

Old Scientist: Eureka! I did it! Problem solved! End of puzzle! Mystery revealed!

Young Friend: Congratulations, Old Scientist! So tell me! What happens when you combine a thingamadoojit with a whatsamajig?

Old Scientist: You get a fummagaroochit!

Young Friend: Wow! That's great to know. It is also great to know that now you can stop working and get some rest.

Old Scientist: Oh no. Not yet.

Young Friend: Why?

Old Scientist: Because a fummagaroochit is not the only thing you get when you combine a thingamadoojit with a whatsamajig.

Young Friend: What do you get besides a fummagaroochit when you combine a thingamadoojit with a whatsamajig?

Old Scientist: You get a whole bunch of new questions!

Young Friend: What are they?

Old Scientist: That's the first one right there. What are the questions? Another question is: What does a fummagaroochit do? I am just beginning to write down all the new questions. So pardon me while I run back to the lab.

Narrator: So the Old Scientist who used to be the Adult who used to be the Little Kid ran back to the lab. And that's where you will find the Old Scientist today, still answering questions and creating more, still moving deeper into mystery.