I believe that asking good questions can change the world. In my role as a university chaplain, I've led many field trips and events that put students in contact with policy makers and officials. Their sincere, intelligent questions often embarrassed people in power, challenging them to rise to a new level of accountability. When students ask questions, instead of making proclamations, people in positions of power take them seriously, and are sometimes disturbed enough by the questions to seek new perspectives. I took a group of USC students to meet the notorious Joe Arpaio, who at the time was the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. He claimed to be the toughest cop in America, threatening undocumented immigrants, running a jail with a tent compound outdoors in 120 degree heat, issuing pink underwear to prisoners, and feeding them green bologna for lunch. My students very respectfully asked him questions, and he, seemingly flattered by the attention he was getting, bloviated for hours. My students didn't let up. They politely asked harder and harder questions - ones that flustered him. Yet their demeanor gave him no opening to react negatively. Who knows what impact my students had on him? I told them that if anybody could have opened his heart and mind, it would have been them.
(can change the world)