I will never forget being four-years-old and invited to join my mother and her friends for some tea and cookies. My mother poured me a cup of tea and asked, “Do you want milk or lemon?” I replied, “Can I have both?”
My mother could have easily told me that was not a good idea and insisted that I choose one or the other. Instead, she added some milk to my cup and then handed me a lemon wedge to drop in. I was subsequently amazed and entranced as the citrus hit the surface and the milk immediately curdled into a multitude of tiny balls.
Yes, my mother allowed me to waste a perfectly good cup of tea. On the other hand, she inspired in me a powerful fascination with biochemistry. And many years later when taking a quiz on “denatured proteins” in college, I had absolutely no problem getting an A.
Children often want to know, “What would happen if…?” And as parents, we have a tendency to just tell them. But as long as safety is not an issue, you might consider giving them not only some instant knowledge but the inspiration to acquire more as well by instead just saying, “Let’s find out!”