A question I hope to answer

| life, design | 6 minute read

Last week we went to a warm place, a much needed break from reality for all three of us. For this trip I took only one book with me: The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero. I was hoping to rekindle my creativity and get my head out of the code a bit.

The first essay really struck a chord with me this time through and I thought it was relevant to the purpose of this writing project. The essay is titled How and Why (and can be read for free at by following the link).

To give this story a little more context, I have a three year old daughter. I'm pretty sure the most common word that comes out of her mouth currently is "why." Why is that bird flying? Why can't I pet this stray cat that lives on a beach? Why can't I eat this thing I found on the floor? All of which are good questions I suppose..

But the was one key concept in that essay that really crystallized for me with this latest reading was this:

How enables but Why motivates, and the space between the two could be described by the gap of enthusiasm between simply understanding phonics and reading a book that one identifies with and loves.

When my daughter asks Why, she isn't asking How. She isn't looking to neccesarily understand how a bird flys. What she ultimately wants to know is why she should care.

I think this exactly what I need to do more of in my life/career. Lately I've been so focussed on How that I'm not taking enough time to stop and ask Why.

Maybe it isn't enough to understand how to speak Javascript, Vue, React, Angular, Ruby, Rails, french, etc. Why do I need all of these tools? Why do I spend some of my evenings learning these things?

Why should I care?

I'm hoping to find some of these answers through by writing. And, for my daughter, I am going to try to be a little more patient with the question of 'Why?'.