We should not teach children the sciences; but give them a taste for them. – Rousseau
What does that mean?
This quote interested me as I was taught this way as a child. Books to read, ideas and demon-strations provided, but not actually taught to me.
For a kid with curiosity, that was certainly the correct way to do it. I wanted to know why, and then how, these things worked, and to discover the system of rules which they obeyed.
To me, that is what this quote is about, awakening the curiosity which is part of most kids. The only trouble is not all are interested in sciences. Some are interested in art or in comedy.
To me, the resulting action should be the same, help them discover what is of interest to them. Let them explore what is interesting, and learn what they wish to know.
Why is curiosity important?
Curiosity, especially passionate curiosity, is a powerful driving force. In learning, it is one of the most effective teachers there is. At least in the subjects which pique the curiosity of the student. For the other subjects, there is the usual droning of a teacher or professor to provide the information, right?
Yet throughout our lives, we still have curiosity. What is the buzz about that movie or book everyone has been talking about? Did you hear about the latest discovery at CERN? How about the new medical technique where they replace blood with chilled saline and get an extra couple hours to fix you up?
Look at your magazine subscriptions or your favorite web sites or blogs. What is it that has piqued your curiosity? What is it that you spend your precious free time looking into? What have you learned in that time? Did it satisfy your curiosity, or did it simply make it keener to dig for more information?
It is rare to find someone who isn’t a life-long learner on a topic which they hold dear. What are the stats of your favorite sports team? Who should they trade, and what should the coach do differently this year? If sports isn’t your thing, you may not care. But those who are curious, they just keep digging.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Beyond the areas mentioned above, there are plenty of options and avenues for you to explore. Being curious, honestly seeking new information, enlightenment, or methods, is a great way to expand the quality of your life. If you read this far, or have been reading this blog for any length of time, you are curious about something, right?
The obvious things which would benefit you would include your personal life, and your work life. Whether you consider children work or personal, that is an area in which your curiosity could probably benefit you, and them. Or do you know everything you need to know about kids, after all, you used to be one, right?
I say that only partly in jest. Having kids of my own, I realized quickly how little I knew. As I considered this to be an issue of some importance, I set myself to learning more. Every opinion had a proponent, and at least one opponent. What’s a parent to do at this point? Pick one and see what happens.
Each theory was tested in the real world of my kids, and I became very curious about why some worked on one kid, but not the other, when the last had worked on both, and the one before that had worked on neither. I’m still not an expert on kids in general, but my curiosity has made me an expert on mine.
Other areas might include health and well-being, be it physically, mentally, or emotionally. What about sports, brewing or vinting, cars, music, or social interactions? There are any number of things which might hold your interest, if decided to start looking into it. Or it could be something about which you are already passionate.
Work, on the other hand, might not be something about which you are all that passionate. Or perhaps it is an aspect of your job. I didn’t used to like to type, because I couldn’t. But, as a programmer, I didn’t have a choice, so I took a typing class. Not because I was passionate about typing, but it was the conduit through which my passion flowed.
What about public speaking or giving presentations? It was another thing I did for work. At first I didn’t think much of it, but it is what lead me, eventually, to this blog. And this blog, and how to do blogging, is something about which I am curious, and always learning.
What in your life, past or present, have you had but a taste, and are interested in finding out more? What could you do to get another taste? Think of things you liked as a kid, a teen, or in other times of your life. Also consider the other aspects of your life, work, play, social, family, etc.
Where will your curiosity take you? To pleasure? To experiments? To ideas about friends and family? To new skills at home or at work? The sky is the limit. Unless, of course, you’re curious about flying.