Among Process Arts, Mythological Studies, in particular, draw attention to how questions are being asked, which in turn can cause the participants in a given process to notice the frame through which repetition, conflict, and learning are happening, which in turn suggests the kind of group culture being created through participation. The exercises below have to do with getting in the habit of keeping in consciousness a few mediating questions which help a child to be educated at the process level.

Before we get started it must be said that responding to a question with another can be annoying. Sometimes it can be perfect. Art will out in figuring out which is which. When it is not right to give back a question, perhaps it would be better to take the question you would have asked and respond clearly and simply as though the child had asked in a process-rich way.

This is a brief introduction to the beginning of mythological studies, for those just starting:

Each level builds on the ones before.

Youngest Ones

(those still in contact with magic)
Example questions posed by child:
  • Is Santa (or insert thematic figure here) Real?
  • Where does this song/story/TV show/movie come from?
  • Why? (repeat ad nauseum)

Responses:

  • Is this a Big Question or a little one?
  • When I hear the question I am reminded of ...
  • Would you like to tell me how you are feeling about it?
  • I remember different people telling me different things, for example,...(brief anecdote)



Older

(but not fully out of the magic/miracle sensitive phase yet)
Example questions:
  • What happens when somebody dies?
  • How come those strange people dress and smell like that?
  • Why can't I watch as much TV as I want, etc.

Responses:

  • How big an answer/many answers would you like?
  • Would you like to tell me what you are thinking and I'll add something you might not know?
  • Is this the kind of question that has one answer from one place or several from many places?
  • Do you want the kind of answer you can do something with right now or the kind you will think more about later?


Oldest but still children

Example questions:
  • Is that other religion true?
  • Why do I have to go to temple/school/visit (insert name of separate parent), etc.?
  • Why do we/they have a lot of stuff and (insert name)/we doesn't/don't?

Responses:

  • How would you respond if someone asked that question of you?
  • How would you respond if someone asked that question about you?
  • What might someone else asking that question be thinking/feeling?
  • If it were so, what would that be like? What would happen?


Kids becoming adults, in or nearing their riper world-weary years, might entitle this next bit, roughly,

"Why should I care how a question gets asked?"

It's a fair question. It might even be framed more simply, and with untold hidden complexity, as "Who Cares?"

Responses:

  • How do people in a country working to be a democracy decide how to vote for things like legally mandated education, anti-drug laws, selective service, working age and child labor laws, driving permit and DMV laws, etc?
  • What is the difference between the way you see things being done and the way you feel they should be done? How can that gap be crossed?
  • Have you ever noticed the difference in the way somebody asks a question when they want something after the asking versus when they don't?
  • How do you decide who to listen to when they ask or tell you to do something? What kind of things (and how much) do you think before responding?
  • How much influence do you have in the kind of person you become? Why do you think that is?
  • At what level, in your world, is your desire and input able to have a direct, measurable effect. How do you feel about that?

All of these things are directly affected by the ways issues/questions/stories get framed.
Examples of Framing effecting Outcome follow here...


And if you have a mixed crowd and only a few minutes...
Five sentences to introduce mythological study to a group of children spanning several developmental periods:
  1. Is it a Big Question or a little question (will I need to hear a bunch of answers and think some more, or will it be a single answer I can have right now)?
  2. How do my people tell stories about it?
  3. How can I remember what I already know? Draw it? Sing it? Write it down?
  4. Which parts feel real in my whole body/mind/soul and how can I let go of the parts that don't feel like they fit?
  5. How can I dream the honest parts of the story onward into tomorrow and get to know the question even better for next time?