Children are inherently curious beings. They arrive in the world, wanting to know as much about it as possible. Everything seems weird and new to them — and they become fixated.
We have all seen this process going on in our own children. Objects that appear dull and mundane to us provide an endless source of entertainment for our kids.
The first time children discover water, for instance, is always interesting to watch. There is nothing like the expression on their face when they discover that this strange liquid is completely different from the solid objects they play with in the crib.
It os there and they can feel it. But they cannot hold it in their hands. What is more, it flows and moves, and ripples on the surface. It is just a fascinating experience for them.
Something similar happens when they encounter glass. Here is a solid object that they can touch — like bricks — but for some reason, they can also see through it. How is that possible? Again, it is a massive source of mystery (and one that even a lot of adults do not understand).
Curiosity, however, tends to ebb over time. Life circumstances and other focuses mean that children can lose some of their sense of wonder about the world. And that is a tragedy. The whole point of the universe existing is so that people can explore it. It does not seem to have any other fundamental purpose of its own.
Parents get massive rewards when they foster their child’s curiosity. It comes back to benefit you in so many ways. And it can be very life-affirming.
But what are these rewards?
A Sense Of Pride
In general, you do not want to show your kids that you are proud of them.
That might sound like a weird thing to say, of course, you should be proud of your kids!
But showing it can create problems. For instance, when you say, “I am proud of you for being so good at sport,” you take the focus off the sport and put it into you. The child begins putting in an effort not because they enjoy the process, but because they want to make you happy and gain your approval.
You can still feel an enormous sense of pride about who your children become internally. It can be a thrilling experience to know that you helped create a great person with passion and joy in their lives.
More Interesting Conversations
Fostering your child’s sense of curiosity also opens up your eyes to the world. Children will often ask questions you would never consider asking yourself. They always manage to put a new angle on things and bring the unexpected to your conversations.
And the more curiosity they have, the more interesting their conversations become.
Think for a moment how much more interesting it is to talk to a child compared to an adult at a standard networking event.
When you communicate in a professional environment, your heart sinks, because you know the questions that are going to come your way. What is your job? (In other words, how much do you earn?) All the boring stuff.
But when you talk with a child, there is never a dull moment. They are not locked into the adult mindset, and so they are free to roam how they like. Your conversation could go anywhere — and it usually does.
Fundamentally, it os a refreshing experience because it puts you back in touch with your childhood self. All of a sudden, you are able to reconnect with the person you once were and get excited about life again.
Curious children are the gift that keeps on giving. You can ask interesting questions and explore deep topics. In many ways, kids are Socratic. They just pepper you with questions and force you to marshal your thoughts. It’s less about social graces and more about establishing truth. It’s almost the scientific method in action.
Enhanced Fun In Your Life
As parents, a lot of us feel like coaches to our children. We believe that it is our role to help build them into adults who love themselves and others.
But without curiosity in your child, you are in for a rough ride. Unless they actually want to imbibe the world around them, they do not want to follow your lead. Everything will feel like an uphill struggle.
Parents, therefore, need to be very careful when approaching learning. The trick is to get the balance between challenge and reward just right. If you make something too difficult, it will put your kids off and they will want to focus on other things that do provide intrinsic satisfaction.
Take learning to read, for instance, a basic tool for any kind of curiosity. You could start your kids off on Tolstoy, but that would be counterproductive. The language would just be too complicated for them to comprehend.
The best place to start is where your child is at. A lot of parents use fun and easy phonemic awareness activities to build a foundation and then build from there.
Doing it this way around is a lot more fun for everyone. Your child gains competence much faster. And you feel like a more effective teacher. Eventually, the process becomes fun.
We go through our lives craving new ideas. But rarely do we get a chance to actually entertain them. We know deep down that we want disruption and challenge. Yet on the surface, everything remains the same.
With curious children, though, you cannot live in a secure, stable, intellectual space. You have to expose your ideas to the raw power of questioning. And, in many cases, you have to develop new ones.
Think about the last time you had a conversation with your kids about ethics or science. Almost always, you get to the point where you recognize that you don’t know the answer and have to come up with new ideas.
It’s actually a thrilling process. When you grapple with new concepts, it is like having a brand new toy at your disposal. Suddenly, you can start playing with it and having fun.
A Sense Of Fulfillment
How many times can you honestly say that you havve felt genuinely fulfilled in your life?
For most people, it is a handful, if that.
But when you have a curious child, you get a daily dose of fulfillment. You know that you have brought a very special creature into the world and you have nurtured them in a remarkable way.
Getting a sense of fulfillment is not always the easiest thing in modern times. There are so many pressures on our lives and demands on our time.
Your Kids Are Happier, And So Are You
Did you know that research shows that curious people are happier with their life than people who are not? Well, it is true.
It turns out that curious people have greater psychological well-being and more satisfaction with their lives. What is more, their curiosity gives them a sense of direction and purpose. It is what fuels their emotions and makes them feel like they are making a difference in the world.
That happiness can also rub off on parents. When your child is a joyful being, it is infectious. You cannot help but indulge a little bit in their joie de vivre yourself.
Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it can help your kids tremendously and your relationships with them. It builds empathy and care and strengthens bonds. Curious children usually grow up to become curious and unstoppable adults, capable of great things in their lives. So fostering and nurturing should be a parent’s top priority.