It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
– Albert Einstein
As the world moves forward in fourth gear with new innovations in technology, the need to nurture curiosity is as big as it is crucial. For all of us, curiosity is the very basic and fundamental element in our development at the workplace and at life in general, but it is amazing how much kids and teens can benefit from it.
I am a fairly curious person by nature, some even called me nosy – not because I want to meddle with others or influence their life, but simply because I am curious about human behaviour. Which is probably why I write fiction, mixed with a good dose of reality and imagination.
My daughter is five, and she is extremely curious, as kids generally are. She is all about the Whys and the Hows of things, and if I’m being honest, I do get exhausted answering all the questions. But, I try my best.
I try because I understand the importance of staying curious, staying hungry for more knowledge and staying open to new views, new opinions and new experiences. That is what makes life great after all, right?
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Eleanor Roosevelt said that at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.
Our kids’ life should consist of constantly walking a tightrope between learning what is taught at schools and colleges, and curiosity, between skill and creativity, between experience and epiphany; between ambition and passion; and between arrogance and conviction – in short, between an old today and a new tomorrow.
No wonder that curiosity is a major part of the growing up process.
For kids, the need to ask question should be encouraged. I know it can be tiresome, especially with 5 year olds asking whys and hows for everything under the sun – but we as parents, need to be patient and answer the questions to the best of our abilities because this is how the kids learn to ask the right questions, to inquire about every side and take informed decisions. It starts early and at home!
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For teens and millennials, the struggle is slightly tough. This wonderful article says that Millennials have been found to be the most stressed generation and have high anxiety. In addition, a study of Millennials across the globe found that they feel their career drive is intimidating to older generations. In such a scenario, the need to be curious and to try new things is even more important, in order to be happy and to arrive at decisions that are well researched.
For kids and millennials, being curious leads to creating opportunities, which then lead to creating possibilities. According to me, it is very important that kids and young folks do not stop asking why, what and how, that they do not stop questioning because curiosity has its own reason for existing, and it keeps leading us down new paths.
So, what do we do about it? Where do we start?
Well, you can start with this self test by Merck:
Take this test and see where you stand.
Encourage young people to take this test too. Pass it on. Pass on the curiosity bug to young folks for whom, natural human curiosity might have been overtaken by stress to make it big, or achieve the goals set by society.
Let’s remember that time, encouragement, and trust can foster curiosity, which is the building block for innovation.
Let’s remain curious, let’s keeping asking the whys and the hows!