The power of not knowing

The other day I interviewed Reg Bibby, one of Canada’s leading sociologists. It was for a story on why youth leave the Church and why they sometimes stay. What made the interview so remarkable to me wasn’t what Bibby knew, which was a lot,  but what he didn’t know, which was only a little.

But he admitted it.

This made me laugh out loud.

I realized, in all my years of interviewing all kinds of experts, and all kinds of people, very few of them have ever answered a question with a flat-out “I don’t know.” And then laughed about it.

It was refreshing. And also reassuring.

Because of course, when someone admits what they don’t know, I tend to trust what they say they do know even more.

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