Saturday, December 31, 2011
I spent this afternoon at my brother and sister-in-law's house, and watched my one-year-old nephew exist in a constant state of curiousness. He wanted to know what was going on everywhere, and be a part of everything. He crawled over to the end table and pulling himself up, he was curious as to what had been placed upon the table since he had last been there. He picked up play-doh his sister had been playing with and put it to his mouth, curious as to the taste. He was curious about the wheels on the bottom of a toy and turned it over to spin them with his hand, round and round. Then he was under the diningroom table, trying to find his way around. It's amazing to watch children being naturally curious.
When did we stop being curious?
I put the question out on Facebook and the answers that came back were good. Curiousity stops when we are told to sit still in school and when we are told to stop asking so many questions by adults who don't have the answers. I guess we learn that it's not socially acceptable and a bit annoying to those around us. We learn, we conform, we grow up. We fit in, but we stop being curious.
Maybe curiousity stops when we reach that age when we think we have all of the answers (wouldn't it be great if we outgrew that stage instead?). We know what we like and what we don't like. Everything has been decided.
I remember visiting Las Vegas with a friend a couple of years ago and he wanted to show me the fountains at the Bellagio hotel. We were standing just inside the hotel, and my friend wanted me to go outside with him to watch the show. It was a bit chilly so I said I preferred to watch the fountain show from inside. He insisted we go outside so I eventually gave in and followed him. That fountain show was one of the most amazing moments of that trip and would not have been the same experience if I had watched from inside. We danced together to the music, right there on the sidewalk in front of the fountains, with not a care in the world for that moment. He had pushed me to be curious.
What does it mean to be curious?
Obviously we can't go back to our childhood (now wouldn't that be amazing!) but we can do some things to foster more of a curious existence. We can begin by challenging ourselves in those things we assume we know. What if we tried something new to eat that we were sure we wouldn't enjoy? What if we visited a place we never thought of going to or picked up a book completely different from what we usually read and become curious about what it's all about? Is there something you always wondered about or were interested in but it was never a convenient time or very practical to persue? Be curious! Start challenging the status quo.
For me, being curious will mean I will try to be more open to new people, new ideas and new adventures. I will be conscious to not make assumptions based on past experiences and I will endeavor to not make judgements about things so quickly. I want to question and challenge everything now.
What about you? What can you do to be more curious?
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up." ~Picasso