Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My daughter the juror

I think my seven-year-old daughter would make an ideal juror in a criminal case.

The other day we were driving to the park and came to an intersection with a left turn lane. There was no protected left turn. There was a sign, however, overhead that warned drivers turning left to yield to oncoming traffic.

My daughter asked me what "yield" meant. I explained to her that it meant if you saw anyone coming toward you, you had to stop and wait until they passed before you could turn left. I thought, somewhat misguidedly, that I had cleared it up with my response. My daughter then let loose with a barrage of questions.

"What if there was someone behind you?"

"What if the car coming toward you was stopped?"

"What if the car was backing up?"

"What if...?"

As frustrating as it was to try to answer every little scenario her brain could imagine, I was impressed that she was being inquisitive and creative. A pat answer was no good for her. She wanted to apply the rule to things she imagined would happen on the street.

She was curious and willing to think outside the box.

It's a wonderful trait our children have. It's a wonderful trait that most of us had at one time in our lives. And it made me wonder what happens to our curiosity. What is it about our society that causes people to label folks who think outside the box as crackpots?

It's that curiosity and willingness to look at problems in different ways that opens us up to new possibilities - including reasonable doubt.

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