Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's The Point?

Today, I sat down with my boss to talk toys. It is, of course, what we always talk about since it's our job to make them. But we also talk music and life and family. He often takes home the toys we make and he has the best stories about his daughters' reactions. They always give him, and us, a heaping dose of reality.

After playing with a toy, this particular one bursting full of content, dozens of buttons and learning games that required pages and pages of logic scripts, a mind numbing amount of bug tests, and endless debates about whether it was too 'learny' (I've trademarked the term) or not 'learny' enough, after pressing every button, playing through every game, answering every question without a word, his daughter looked up and asked:

Ok Dad. I played it. But what is the point of this toy?

Oh my goodness, this made me laugh out loud.

And it made me think.

It's a very sophisticated question for a child to ask about a toy. It's a very sophisticated question for someone of any age to ask about anything. Because it's really a kind of prompt or plea. It says: Give me a reason. To believe in this. To stay with it.

I've questioned the point of many things. Small things. Like making the bed in the morning when you're just going to get into it again that night. Wearing a veil at a wedding. (As a side note: I was shocked to learn that questioning this would throw people into a state of rage, confusion, and a frenetic this-is-the-way-it's-done tizzy.) And big things. Like writing a novel. Having a career. Falling in love.

There are a million answers to each and every What's the point? question. But, whether it's a small thing or a big thing, I think it's important to note that people often ask it when things are just about to break, when they are hanging by the thinnest thread.

So I think it's important to ask it. I think it's important to find an answer. I believe it is not good enough to live your life inside a giant 'just because'.


  1. My son asks this question about EVERYTHING. He makes me think about what the point is for the craziest things. Sometimes it makes me feel stupid that I don't know the answer. But, I always tell him we'll Google it, or I'll think about it more.

    Great post!

  2. Kids are great at getting to the point.

    As with the wedding veil - anything wedding related has so many assumed expectations tied into it. At first my mother wanted me to get married at the same church she and her sisters did. I reminded her it was 5 hours away in a different state and all of them were now divorced. She also thought you had to have the wedding march (the "here comes the bride" song) and I let her know that in the multitude of weddings I'd been to in a short span of time, not a single person used that. They only do that on TV! Seriously. She didn't get the idea the my husband wanted to compose his own music for it, he's a musician, and it was of course super awesome :)

    Anyway, good food for thought.

  3. Love love love this post. I ask "What's the point?" SO MUCH. Sometimes it's good, because it makes me realize there IS no point and X is therefore just not worth it. At the same time, when I question it in terms of relationships, I usually just have to fall back on "Just because," or otherwise I'd never put myself out there.

    It is funny, sometimes, to ask yourself and actually answer it - just to see what you come up with! (Especially humorous, and sometimes pathetic, in terms of dating!)

  4. Yes, a thousand times yes!
    Life isn't a big "just because" should have purpose and meaning; and it's WAY too short to focus on things that don't matter. That's exactly why I started my blog, why I started seriously pursuing novel writing, and why I applied to other jobs today. Though I'm grateful for what I have, I know that my current obligations don't support my long term goals.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Wow...What's the point? I write because I'm not a teacher anymore. I talk to my old students on facebook because I'm not a teacher anymore. Why are my stories didactic? Because I'm still a teacher. Thanks for making me think. Now you'll have to excuse me as I didn't make my bed this morning and need to run upstairs. :)

  6. Outstanding! "What's the point?" says it all. I want an answer, have always wanted an answer. I have found THE answer in Christ. All the other questions? I just want an answer to them, too.

  7. hi miss melissa! for sure i ask that question lots. sometimes i make my brothers and my sister crazy with it. ha ha. i think making the beds got no point and sweeping leaves off the deck and cleaning my room and other stuff thast just gonna get dirty again. ack! one time a while back i asked whats the point of living if im dying but i found lots of points and a bunch of them are right here on the blogs. :)
    ...hugs from lenny

  8. Wow, what a great question. And can I just mention again that you have the coolest job?!

    I really think that answering that question is at the heart of what makes life worth living. If there were no point, then wow . . . my mind is boggled . . . what's the point of existence?

  9. You're so right - we usually ask that question when we're at the end of whatever rope we've been pulling on.

    I like the idea of putting a more positive spin on it.