Curiosity Cures Boredom

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There is no cure for curiosity—Dorothy Parker

If I were a Fairy Godmother bestowing a precious gift upon a child, I would choose the gift of curiosity.
Plink!
And you shall go out and ask why, and what would happen if….. You shall receive skinned knees and dangle from trees. You will lift up rocks, draw aliens with special powers, and wonder why a piano sounds different from a harmonica. You will twirl until you are dizzy and fall to the grass and do it again and wonder why the world is spinning. Along with curiosity I wish for you the autonomy to tinker and doodle without adult interference, and you will have a big grand life.

The beauty of small children is they are already blessed with an abundance of curiosity, taking in the sights and smells and textures of life like hungry little Ninjas preparing for the future. As children grow, well-intentioned parents can hijack a passing interest and call for lessons, workshops, or coaching to develop the enthusiasm into something less wild, more cultivated. Then down the road of childhood parents complain that their kids show no passion for anything, all they want to do is play computer games, not understanding that their child has learned not to express interest because if they do, it will move into an adult-managed event where they are never ever quite good enough. There will always be room for improvement and maybe all they wanted to do was bang on the piano or throw a ball against the wall over and over. It is easier to feign indifference.

How can we foster curiosity in our kids? It’s simpler than you think.curiosity-quotes-images-3-0d425dd3

• Be a family who asks questions. They are more important than the answers. Take your child’s questions seriously and speculate together. Sometimes it is good, very good, when an adult does not have the explanation. Dig it out together
• Give your child autonomy, another word for benign neglect. Let them riff on a new skill or interest without your feedback or enthusiasm
• Remember it is the process, not the product that counts, even if it is not as efficient or beautiful as you think it could be
• Bring on the boredom! Let them wrestle with it. It the place where passions are born and hobbies are developed without the interference of an adult
• No rewards. Do not bribe or push or offer consolation if the outcome falls short of expectations. That is life, and allowing our children to deal with it while they are under our watch promotes resiliency
• Do not model the best way to do something, like hold scissors or draw a circle. Of course you can do it better! Your child needs to discover it for herself
• Be a family that honors trying new things. Do it yourself and share with your kids. Be frank about how scary it was to ski a double black diamond or how nervous you were when you got lost trying to navigate in a new city
• No recipes. Let your child help in the kitchen, the workshop, the backyard with their own flair for technique

CuriousGeorge_936x437• And when you get stuck, ask what Curious George would do! There is always an adventure behind curiosity

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