My daughter's favorite book series right now is Curious George. We've read each book we own at least twelve times. Now, my daughter can complete the sentence you're reading, especially at the beginning when you say, "George was a good little monkey and always ____ _______." (very curious) At her annual checkup last week, we completed a questionnaire from the doctor to make sure she is developing socially, mentally, and emotionally. One of the questions was whether or not we own firearms (we don't, unless you want to rob us, in which case we have several) and if so, whether they are locked up. The questionnaire mentioned how _______ kids are, thus the risk. (curious)
There is no one else in my life (not even George) as curious as my daughter. She throws things over the stair rail to see what happens when they hit the floor below. Other than new foods, she's game for trying nearly anything.
I give in to this more often than not, wanting to show her that staying curious is a great skill to have. She wants to see what happens when she puts a cracker in milk? Give it a whirl. When you squeeze a balloon too hard? Try it. When you throw a Lego down the hallway, put a basket on your head, or get Elmo wet? Why not?!
I want my daughter to stay curious. Curiosity is what eventually leads to being able to ask smart questions, a skill she'll need forever. Sadly, too many adults are done being curious and therefore forget how to ask smart, relevant, or timely questions.
When we leave our curiosity in childhood, we forget how to explore. And without exploration, we'll never discover anything new for ourselves. With adulthood comes the awareness of our own vulnerability and the overestimation of pride. We don't try something new because if we don't like it, we may feel foolish. If we try to learn something new and fail, we'll look foolish.
For a lot of us, we've reasoned risk out of our lives, and with it, reward.
We need to stay curious. We're born with this desire and it's educated out of us as we grow up. This is not good.
If you don't understand, ask. If you don't know, learn. And if you don't wonder, begin.
Stay curious. If you're not sure, how, pick up a yellow paperback with a cartoon monkey on the cover. Watch what happens as he visits the museum, pizza parlor, or dinosaur dig. Then, go and do likewise.