Why do we have walls?

While I was washing dishes, my third daughter, now five years old, peppered me with questions.

“Why do we have toothbrushes?” she asked.

“To help keep our teeth clean,” I said.

“Why do we have a nose?” she asked.

“To smell things,” I said.

“Why do we have chairs?” she asked.

“So we can sit down,” I said.

Junk Drawer

She even went to one of our junk drawers and drilled me on why we needed everything in the drawer. I was having fun coming up with answers while she kept asking why we needed things, even asking why we needed walls. That took me a second or two to come up with an answer, “So, that we have rooms.” She seemed content with my answers. But she hit me with a question that made me pause.

She was on a roll asking about the body. Why we needed elbows, knees, and why we had a tummy.


Then she asked, “Why do we live?”

I couldn’t think of a quick fun answer. I did think of a deep philosophical answer, but knew it wasn’t right for the moment. How could I provide an answer that she would appreciate?

Without a clear answer in my head I said, “We are alive because it is a gift, an opportunity for us to see what we can do with our lives.”

“To go to the zoo?” she asked.

“Yes,” I chuckled, “but to do other things, too.”

“Like make brownies,” she asked, “or to be a dad?”

I turned from the sink to look at her as she sat at the island playing with her My Little Ponies. He finger still in a splint. And a smile that made her eyes shine.

“Yes, like being a dad,” I said.

What is your answer to the question, “Why do we live?”


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