Seven Million Whys!

I have this note posted on my computer at work that is sort of a queue card for me that helps me on a daily basis when it comes to communication, analysis and problem solving.

“I have six honest serving men, they taught me all I know.  I call them What, Where, When, Who, Why and How.”

z kipling

However, I have a problem with Why.  For me, it’s a childish question.  It’s alright when a child ask me why but when an adult asks, I felt like saying: “Are you a dolt?” in my mind.  So I facetiously answer: “Why is the sky blue?”  Evading this word is easier for me than responding to it.  The person will never be satisfied with my response.  It is akin to being put on the grill.  Having worked in a law firm, I know better.

As I found out, the whole poem is part of a children’s book written by Kipling:

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends’em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!
The Elephant’s Child 

This poem just answered my question how come I do not like “Whys”!
Thank you, Poet4Justice: If for helping me solve a riddle.
Related Link: Kipling: Elephant’s Child

13 thoughts on “Seven Million Whys!

  1. I never knew that came from Kipling! I just knew it was what newsmen/women or journalists use. In CJ the why is motive – not a criminal element that needs to be legally proven, but it’s good for investigations.
    So cool – thanks!

    • I just found that out from Poet4justice. I’ve learned this in public speaking. Why is good actually. It’s just I don’t understand “Why” is people cannot accept the answer. You are welcome, Colleen.

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