Curiosity is often an under-used element used in parenting. When it comes to being a parent, we tend to push off being curious, instead filling it with a need to be right. As parents, we pressure ourselves to have all the answers when our children approach us with questions or problems. We may find that we use our “rightness” to also assume that we do know everything and that our kids don’t know anything. This leaves very little room for the magic of curiosity to come to live.
Let’s talk Magic first of all- Magic brings forth that energy of awe, wonderment, mystery, and curiosity. Who hasn’t watched a magician perform and wondered - How did that happen? How did they do that? We need not look only to magicians to be filled with wonder when everyday we are exposed to magic if we are curious and are observant. Ever wonder how did my child get to be so- big, funny, creative, imaginative, wonderful, cute, smart, witty...
Look at Nature and the magical wonders that we are presented with throughout the mysteries there. We don’t have to know the science behind how something is to be able to appreciate it with awe and recognize that it can stir the curiosity within. Why is the sky blue? What makes the birds sing in the morning? Do squirrels remember where they bury their acorns? What do worms taste like that birds like them so much? These may be questions that your kids have asked, and we can learn from their love of being curious.
Children have this natural curiosity within them- I adore taking my granddaughter outside and just watching her explore her world as she examines leaves, sticks, grass, wood chips, a crawling insect, hears the birds sing, a dog bark and airplanes fly overhead and hold this element of curiosity of it all. Something we, adults take for granted. Even though I know what a leaf is, I can still be in awe of its color, texture, design and uniqueness. Notice the energy that comes up when we are curious and full of wonder? Does it feel lighter, expansive, fun and engaging?
What happens as we grow older that we lose our child-like wonder and curiosity? Was it schooling that led us to be more focused on getting answers than asking questions? Was it the need to perform to get good praise that we forgot about asking more to explore beyond what was required? As parents we fall into having expectations that stifle curiosity. We jump to conclusions rather that being willing to explore the possibilities. And we often assume we know something without asking some pertinent questions.
As we have grown, we have become trained to have the right answer, not to ask more questions that will lead to further insights. We can feel as if it is a weakness to ask questions- the idea that we need to know everything lest we be judged for looking stupid and not knowing, so we are willing to wander around lost instead of asking for directions or help.
"Curiosity is a willing, a proud, an eager confession of ignorance" - Leonard Rubinstein.
Curiosity is the key to living a meaningful life. Curiosity removes boredom and allows us to create a response to life that is filled with awe and wonderment. What else is possible? Be curious about every experience as a miracle that will contribute to your highest good.
- Connect to the wonderment you felt as you held your child for the first moment, curious about who they are and will be.
- Be curious how your kids can teach you, especially how to be curious.
- Be curious about what your kids know and how they are able to come up with their own solutions.
As we continue to be curious, more will be revealed. And there will always be something to wonder about and explore.
Kids live in possibilities; adults live in absolutes until we choose to move into asking that magical question- What else is possible?
Use key open-ended questions to stimulate and be the energy of curiosity. Using curiosity to stimulate subjective conversation builds trust between you and your child. Curiosity isn’t about having a fixed a point of view but rather asking, "What if I didn’t have this point of view?"
Parents can use any of these suggestions to let your child know you are curious about what they think and know. This will establish a deeper level of trust and communication. Being curious isn't about having an agenda or using the child's response to lecture. It is about gathering the information to get to know your child. What do you think/know about…
- What does this bring up for you?
- What else would you like to know about…
- Have you ever wondered…
- I wonder…
- What if…
- If you could be anything what would you be?
- If you could do anything what would you like to do?
- If you could have anything what would you like to have?
Everyday parents can be inspired by their child and see the world with fresh eyes.
Allow your kids remind you not to take things too seriously, to be adventurous, to really see their weird and gorgeous world; these are all important sources of inspiration and magic.