What could be the very one thing that gives us ongoing growth and development–like sunshine and water are to flowers and plants?
I say it’s curiosity that have children grow like weeds. Did you notice I say “children” only? Most of us, the adults, seem to stop growing at one point. Maybe, that’s why we call ourselves, “Grown Up”, like we we are done, baked, cooked. No need to grow because we have already grown.
I can probably save one hundred dollars per week by putting a dollar in a jar every time my three-year-old charge asks WHY–that’s how often he asks “WHY, Hsiao-Ling?” I realized lately, when I give him an answer to his why, I might actually stop him from being curious. Another way the adults squash children’s curiosity is telling them “You don’t need to know this right now”–as my husband shared with me how his father had always said so whenever he asked WHY.
Me: Mary is coming to babysit you on Saturday.
Little Boy: Yea. Is Mary not going to see her grandpa? (Mary’s grandpa passed away two weeks ago)
Me: No. He passed away, remember?
Little Boy: Oh, he went to heaven.
Me: (not saying anything)
Little Boy: Can Mary go to heaven to see him?
Me: Maybe later.
Little Boy: Why not now?
Me: (looks at the little boy’s mommy)
Little Boy’s Mommy: Well, honey, Mary can’t go right now.
Little Boy: Why can’t she?
Little Boy’s Mommy: Because heaven is a place you go when you pass away.
Little Boy: Why is it?
Little Boy’s Mommy: That’s the way it is, buddy. (then turns to me) I am not ready to have this conversation yet.
Conversations like this sometimes could be hard for grown ups (just wait when children ask questions about sex). WHY? Could it be we think we have all the answers (or, we think we need to have the answers)? How can you being curious when you already know the answers? Could you grow, or allow others to grow, if you already know the answers? And, how could being curious use us as parents? What impact would it have in our children’s life when we are willing to be in the not knowing?
Me: I heard your bed was wet this morning.
Little Boy: I peed peed in my pant.
Me: I thought you had your pull-ups on at night time.
Little Boy: I did. I just had a lot of pee.
Me: You sure had lots of it.
Little Boy: It’s just an accident, Hsiao-Ling.
Me: What can you do when you have an accident like that?
Little Boy: (looks at me) Clean up?
Me: (smile) You mean you help me to clean up your accident?
Little Boy: No, it’s not your mess, Hsiao-Ling. You don’t clean up my mess.
Maybe, one of the benefits of being in the wonderment to discover our children’s view about life is allowing our children to come up with their own answers to life…. that they learn to be responsible for their own actions, including accidents (which some of the adults still think you can’t be responsible for accidents–“It’s not my fault. It’s an accident!!”)
P.S. I am meeting up with a group of people this weekend, and engaging in a conversation about curiosity. Here are some questions that get you start thinking:
# What are you curious about?
# What have you always been curious about?
# What are you not curious about?
# How is life different when you are being curious or not being curious?
# Where is choice?
Enjoy the ride!!